Author Topic: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.  (Read 773 times)

Vonshroom

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The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« on: 10 September 2017, 12:54:03 »
Well here is a thread about the ShadowHawk in 3025, cue the Grayson Carlyle jokes, and the boundless comments regarding the words, "underwhelming", "oversinked", and "jack-of-all-trades". Truth be told the ShadowHawk is something of all three and more.

The inspiration for this thread comes with a fairly recent mercenary company that I have made for pick up games, and a bit of fluff writing. The commander pilots (at least for now a modified SHD-2H)

This version drops the SRM2, its accompanying ton of explody uselessness, and a single heat sink. For this three medium lasers get added. With an LRM5 and AC to poke at long range, and 4Mlasers up close this mech is more ammo independant, and well effective. All without losing the flavor of the Shadow Hawk.

After thinking about it it seems like a fairly straightforward weapons swap that would probably be done by mercenaries in this era. There are no new or completely refitted weapons, just adding some that the Shad already carries. Seems this would make it easier for targeting computers and techs to get right. Also, its a mech that just might allow an elite pilot to shine like the aforementioned Grayson Carlyle and actually become a mega hero.

So what's your opinion of this variant of the Shadow Hawk? Also what are some custom variants of the mech that you have ran in this era, or feel would have been ran (in universe).
« Last Edit: 10 September 2017, 12:59:41 by Vonshroom »
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Vonshroom

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #1 on: 10 September 2017, 13:00:29 »
Original Post modified because somehow it posted mid way through the write-up.  :P
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Daryk

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #2 on: 10 September 2017, 13:03:48 »
If you want actual variants, you may want to ask the mods to move this down to the Fan Designs area.

I've always liked the Kurita variant personally, and not just because it makes a decent base for a Blazer Cannon version.

Vonshroom

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #3 on: 10 September 2017, 13:20:23 »
If you want actual variants, you may want to ask the mods to move this down to the Fan Designs area.

I've always liked the Kurita variant personally, and not just because it makes a decent base for a Blazer Cannon version.

I thought about posting it there, but felt it was more suited to ground combat as I was looking more towards a discussion of the Shadow Hawk's capabilities in different configurations than more of a here is my modification thread.

Also I am looking for input on how widespread different Shadow Hawk variants may be during this time, and going forward.
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Daryk

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #4 on: 10 September 2017, 13:29:26 »
In 3025, I think the Kurita variant is probably the most widespread after the stock version (and Sarna seems to agree).  The Davion variant just doesn't last in combat.

Ruger

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #5 on: 10 September 2017, 14:09:10 »
In 3025, I think the Kurita variant is probably the most widespread after the stock version (and Sarna seems to agree).  The Davion variant just doesn't last in combat.

The thing about the Davion variant is that it removes armor for no good reason. Instead of removing 4 tons of armor to add an extra medium laser, SRM-2 and 2 heat sinks, the designers should have removed two heat sinks to add the weapons (or my preference, which I should probably keep out of this thread, as it would put it close to a fan design thread topic)...Regardless, with either mod, you can fire your meds and SRM's (and AC), and still only really heat up by whatever your movement would increase it (unless you get an engine hit)...

The Kurita variant is also well oversinked, but the PPC tends to make one think it needs those extra heat sinks...

Of course, the fluff about the Shadow Hawk is fluffed as being a cool running 'Mech, so there's a potential reason for all the extra heat sinks...

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« Last Edit: 10 September 2017, 14:16:23 by Ruger »
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #6 on: 10 September 2017, 14:44:45 »
If you want actual variants, you may want to ask the mods to move this down to the Fan Designs area.

I've always liked the Kurita variant personally, and not just because it makes a decent base for a Blazer Cannon version.

I had not even considered that.  O0

Also, I don't know if I would describe the SRM-2 as useless.  Everything about the SHD-2H is about bring multipurpose. The AC/5 could carry regular or flak ammo, alternate munitions for the LRMs and SRMs allow for a wide variety of roles, and the medium laser is about as general purpose as it gets.
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JadedFalcon

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #7 on: 10 September 2017, 16:25:56 »
The Blazer Hawk idea does sound interesting...

With how underwhelming the SHD-2H is, I've come to the conclusion that it is best used as a support mech for combined arms, being used primarily against vehicles and infantry. The 2D seems to fit in a similar role, and can be a great value for the BV if your opponent is more worried about your other mechs than the craptastic under-armored Shad.

I had not even considered that.  O0

Also, I don't know if I would describe the SRM-2 as useless.  Everything about the SHD-2H is about bring multipurpose. The AC/5 could carry regular or flak ammo, alternate munitions for the LRMs and SRMs allow for a wide variety of roles, and the medium laser is about as general purpose as it gets.


I can get behind the notion that the SHD-2H is a support unit that should be carrying Infernos, flak shells, and smoke LRMs.

Daryk

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #8 on: 10 September 2017, 16:37:03 »
Word of caution: I consider ANY design with a Blazer Cannon interesting...  ;D

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #9 on: 10 September 2017, 17:46:21 »
one of the important things to remember is that the Shadow Hawk originated in a time with a different military dynamic.. one where mass combat was much more common, and lances and even companies of the same mech design were the norm. it was also a time when infantry and vehicles played a bigger role in combat as well.

this led to designs that were specialized for unconventional roles, like infantry and armor support. which is what the Primitive Shadow Hawk (slower, with just the AC5 and ML) was designed for. the common -2H model was the common-SLDF replacement for that primative model. odds are they fit the LRm5 and SRM2 on because of special ammo options.. though IMO probably not all at once. but if you have a company of Shadow hawks supporting a couple companies of tanks or infantry, you could load one lance with inferno's, one lance with Smoke LRm's, and a lance with Flak, and get a fairly rounded set of capabilities. and since they could do a little bit of anything, you wouldn't need to be as careful with what you attached the company too.. a company of Shadow hawks could support an AA unit just as well as they could an MBT unit or a mechanized infantry unit.. you'd just load different ammo mixes.

you did see a more straight combat model, in the SHD-2Hb royal variant (which mounted Endo, ferro, DHS, LB10X, 2 Streak2's, and 2 ML's) but that one was exclusive to the hegemony's Royal units, and thus largely unknown to the inner sphere at large. and after the fall of the star league, most of these went with kerensky.

after the start of the succession wars, the basic -2H, being a jack of all trades support unit, would have been a useful addition to any mech lance.
most of the succession wars variants were attempts to make it more of a straight combat unit..
the Kurita -2K variant basically makes it a less effective Griffon clone, the -2D tries to add extra SRm and Ml firepower (almost like the royal model's layout) but lacking weight saver tech, sacrifices too much armor.

the post-3050 versions start with trying to make the succession wars versions "themselves, but better", before veering off into some eclectic mixes. but they all generally remain support units, meant to help other mechs, rather than carry the day themselves.

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #10 on: 11 September 2017, 10:06:00 »
The -2H Shadow Hawk becomes a pretty effective support fighter once alternate munitions become more widely available. Load the LRM bin with smoke rounds, the SRM bin with Inferno rounds to keep infantry/vehicles away, and the autocannon with either Precision ammo for the fast movers, or flak ammo to tell enemy air units to go away, and you'll make your lancemates much more effective in a fight.

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #11 on: 11 September 2017, 10:13:01 »
I quite like the 4 medium laser idea. Works well enough for the Catapult in the same era.

Personally I like to remove the AC5 and replace it with a PPC and medium laser (I like to 'fix' the jump jets at the same time but that is highly optional). I find the same modification dramatically improves the Wolverine 6R and Clint as well...actually more or less any medium/light mech with an AC, I really don't like that weapon.

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Simon Landmine

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #12 on: 11 September 2017, 10:27:57 »
With the advent of alternate ammo types, I'd be tempted to pop out a heat sink or two, and replace them with an extra ammo bin for the AC, to enable ammo selection. And maybe a second medium laser, or another bin for the LRM, to give that more flexibility, too. Though I admit that would make it a fireworks display-in-waiting, but, hey, this is war - and it's already one of those anyway.

I think the summary of it as a generalist is spot-on - maybe also from when one 'mech might have to be able to face off against any kind of opponent? And it can give some close-in support to its brother the Griffin, while adding some more long-range throw to brother Wolverine.

(Been a Shadow Hawk fan since it was on the cover of the rules in the old box set.)
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #13 on: 11 September 2017, 15:35:33 »
Back in the day, before there were record sheets for it, we thought the Kurita version of the ShadowHawk swapped the AC/5 and LRM-5 for a PPC and heatsinks. It runs pretty good for a generalist.
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #14 on: 11 September 2017, 20:09:44 »
I remember thinking the same thing, and, yeah, that turns out to be a pretty handy version.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #15 on: 12 September 2017, 16:32:42 »

I don't subscribe to the infantry support mech theory.  A support unit should complement its infantry, i.e., do things that the infantry cannot do for themselves.  90-meter jumps, piddling 5-LRM volleys and 2-SRM salvos, and AC/5 support are all things that infantry can do for themselves.  Sure, the S-Hawk can move at cavalry speeds, but that just means it's going to rapidly outpace the infantry unit it's supposed to be supporting (or waste its cavalry potential).

I always thought the old S-Hawk should have had the Chameleon's fluff as a trainer mech.  The S-Hawk has a little of every weapon type to train on, some modest jumping, and a newb/trainee can't easily roast themselves alive in it unlike most pre-freezer designs.  Trainer flavor better fits the S-Hawk's actual capabilities.  And it would help explain why so many of this rather sucky design exist but were pressed into service during the Succession Wars.

Even with special ammo in play, I personally avoid the old S-Hawk.  With three deep ammo bins and a very slow rate of fire consuming each, the old S-Hawk is a large, triply redundant bomb -- it will go off.

Peepers and medium laser banks and bigger missile packs and RACs/LB-X when they come online can obviously turn the design around.  But then the design becomes more a Griffin or a Swayback or a Dervish or a Centurion/Enforcer than an S-Hawk

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« Last Edit: 12 September 2017, 16:39:22 by Natasha Kerensky »
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massey

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #16 on: 12 September 2017, 17:32:11 »
The Shadowhawk doesn't actually suck.  People don't care for it because you can't give an opponent a 20+ roll, even if you roll perfectly.  But everyone likes the Griffin and the Wolverine.  The chance of a 10 point hit, and some decent short range weapons will make you popular, I guess.

I played around with the Shadowhawk in megamek, and the best thing about it is its versatility.  You can beat a Griffin up close, and wear down a Wolverine at range (kinda).  It's a decent support mech as well.  Find yourself some woods to sit in, and just shoot weapons at whoever gives you the lowest target number.  You can take the secondary target penalty, and shoot your long range weapons at one guy, and your short range at another guy.

Alternate ammo really gives you a boost as well, because it lets you take on a specialized role without having to take a specialized mech.  It's like a really primitive Omni.  An entire force of Shadowhawks can actually be very deadly if they have the right stuff.  Imagine a company where every mech had taken flak ammo for their AC-5s.  Would you want to do a strafing run on them?  Sounds like suicide.  Now... how do you know they have flak ammo until you try it?  You wouldn't.  So once you know that's a tactic that people use, you have to act as though they're always carrying it (at least until proven otherwise).

The Shadowhawk is the ultimate 3025 jack of all trades, master of none.  And with quirks and special pilot abilities, it is actually really good in hand to hand.  It's got battle fists, and a medium laser in the arm (fist fire, I think it's called).  Not bad at all.

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #17 on: 12 September 2017, 20:34:53 »
I won't go so far as to say the Shadow Hawk is genuinely good, but I do think it's going to far to call it bad.  Being able to reach out to 18 hexes and do 8-9 damage for no heat is nothing to sneeze at in 3005, when just having a functional mech was an accomplishment.  It's armor has never been criticized in any era, and when nearly no other mech is mounting full armor and monstrosities like the Rifleman and Jaggermech (and Shadow Hawk 2D) are allowed to run free, just being able to go out and soak up damage in exchange for the AC5 and LRM5, oh and by the way whatever that Longbow 0W is doing, is something of a neat party trick (if you have a spare Longbow, at least).

But, really, in 3005, just having a medium mech was a win from the get go, when the three most common mechs in existence were the Locust, Wasp and Stinger.  So it depends what your battles look like.  If one tends to run with companies and battalions of fully functional high end mediums and heavies and assaults, then the Shadow Hawk will look pretty crummy, and rightly so.  But, if I sat down across from such a person, would I scratch my head, and think that it looks more like 3065 than 3025?
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #18 on: 12 September 2017, 20:48:40 »
Believe it or not, I actually got some good use out of a shadowhawk 2D over the course of several engagements (it was the ride of the commanding officer of a mercenary unit I made. The perils of inheriting your battlemech!).

The key, I found, was using it as a supporting player hiding behind something bigger and scarier that was actively in the enemy's face. Though "bigger and scarier" was frequently metaphorical. Her lancemates were a wolverine, shadowhawk 2H, and commando.

Of course, in the fifth engagement, the enemy actually noticed her and reduced her mech to scrap... So it's not a perfect strategy.  :P

Consider "pretty good if you don't notice it" my best possible endorsement of the Shadow hawk 2D.
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Vonshroom

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #19 on: 13 September 2017, 00:59:14 »
Interesting discussion so far guys. I think everyone brings up some good points, and I would kind of like to touch on some of them.
one of the important things to remember is that the Shadow Hawk originated in a time with a different military dynamic.. one where mass combat was much more common, and lances and even companies of the same mech design were the norm. it was also a time when infantry and vehicles played a bigger role in combat as well.

Glitterboy, I agree with this, and I don't. As one of the original mechs, the Shadow Hawk actually originated in 3025 (even though it was fluffed to be an ancient design) so it actually was designed to be one of the original 3025 era mechs. This means that it was pretty much designed to be a mech fighter, even if the in universe fluff, and what not has been changed since.

It does however fill the role of a Jack pretty well. In the succession wars, particularly the early 3000's as some others have pointed out, you are lucky to have a mech. You are even luckier if it something other than a bug mech or at the best a light. Against these mechs, the stock 2H equips itself very well. Further during this time huge mech formations were very uncommon, lance sized was pretty large, and company was enough to take multiple planets and hold them. Much as Mongoose says.

But, really, in 3005, just having a medium mech was a win from the get go, when the three most common mechs in existence were the Locust, Wasp and Stinger.  So it depends what your battles look like.  If one tends to run with companies and battalions of fully functional high end mediums and heavies and assaults, then the Shadow Hawk will look pretty crummy, and rightly so.  But, if I sat down across from such a person, would I scratch my head, and think that it looks more like 3065 than 3025?
With this in mind, it means that the Shadow Hawk is if not designed as an infantry / conventional support mech, used as one. If for no other reason than the fact that mechs are rare, so most of the time, the forces on both sides of the conflict are going to be conventional forces. In this role, as you stated, it equips itself fairly well. Especially with the availability of specialty ammo, i.e. flak, infernos etc.

 

I always thought the old S-Hawk should have had the Chameleon's fluff as a trainer mech.  The S-Hawk has a little of every weapon type to train on, some modest jumping, and a newb/trainee can't easily roast themselves alive in it unlike most pre-freezer designs.  Trainer flavor better fits the S-Hawk's actual capabilities.  And it would help explain why so many of this rather sucky design exist but were pressed into service during the Succession Wars.

Even with special ammo in play, I personally avoid the old S-Hawk.  With three deep ammo bins and a very slow rate of fire consuming each, the old S-Hawk is a large, triply redundant bomb -- it will go off.

Peepers and medium laser banks and bigger missile packs and RACs/LB-X when they come online can obviously turn the design around.  But then the design becomes more a Griffin or a Swayback or a Dervish or a Centurion/Enforcer than an S-Hawk

My 2 C-bills... YMMV.

Natasha, I agree about the trainer mech, makes much more sense to me than the Chameleon does as a trainer mech, with the only drawback being teaching the rookies heat management. ;)

As far as modifying it goes, I feel that my original post Shadow Hawk redesign keeps the feel of the machine while making it much more viable in combat. Further its a fairly straightforward refit, or at least I think. Swapping the SRM-2 and a heat sink for 3 more mediums.

I quite like the 4 medium laser idea. Works well enough for the Catapult in the same era.

Personally I like to remove the AC5 and replace it with a PPC and medium laser (I like to 'fix' the jump jets at the same time but that is highly optional). I find the same modification dramatically improves the Wolverine 6R and Clint as well...actually more or less any medium/light mech with an AC, I really don't like that weapon.

Challenger

All true Challenger, but keeping the feel of the stock machine and the low heat output are kind of what I was looking for. Definitely more effective upgrades though.


One area I see the Shadow Hawk excelling is in extremely hot or volcanic environments, think of somewhere that adds a +5 heat or more per turn. This is a great playground for the Shadow Hawk where it can run and slap someone with most of its weapons and still manage its heat, whereas a more damaging design would overheat too fast. For this niche too, I see the stock Shadow Hawk as an excellent option.
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Kovax

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #20 on: 13 September 2017, 11:58:09 »
In my opinion, the worst issue with the SHD design is the attempt to make it sort-of jump, without going the full 9 yards.  It's paying tonnage for something that's only marginally useful.

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #21 on: 13 September 2017, 12:07:52 »
I tend to think of the SHD's jump as more of a hop - it enables it to hop over a river without wading through it, leap small buildings in a single bound, scale low cliffs, and skip gleefully through heavy woods (with a picnic basket?). It's definitely not a primary movement type like on the 'real' jumpers, but it stops it being completely bogged down by terrain that would slow a walk/run-only mech, or force it to take a more severe detour.
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #22 on: 13 September 2017, 12:20:50 »
In my opinion, the worst issue with the SHD design is the attempt to make it sort-of jump, without going the full 9 yards.  It's paying tonnage for something that's only marginally useful.

Agreed the SHD should be able to jump 5 hexes.  The 2D is horribly under armored.  I want to like the SHD, but it falls short. 

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #23 on: 13 September 2017, 12:25:16 »
In my opinion, the worst issue with the SHD design is the attempt to make it sort-of jump, without going the full 9 yards.  It's paying tonnage for something that's only marginally useful.

Ironically this does not bother me. Some others I have seen are almost OCD level when it comes to jump jet distance matching the walking speed of a mech. To me I don't care.

I see the jumpjets as a useful inclusion for the tonnage, with the Extra 1.5 tons you would gain, what would you add to the weapons? Thats where the S-Hawk needs improving, I mean the armor is good, the heat sink load is good, etc. I don't like the increase in raw firepower that that extra 1.5 tons gives to the design vs. the trade in maneuverability.

The fact that the Shadow Hawk can now "hop" onto decent size buildings, over rivers, minefields, rough hexes, trees, whatever makes it infinitely more valuable to me. Additionally it can DFA other mechs, which is nothing to sneeze at. I can't tell you how many objects I have sailed over with a Shadow Hawk and used it to my advantage.

In a lot of my personally designed units, they only have a few jump jets. I find that for a fraction of the tonnage of a full compliment you can get excellent mobility options opened up.
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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #24 on: 13 September 2017, 12:37:32 »
Wrong era, same topic. The Shad-5D is the first Shad that really shines for me. Better armor, 5/8/5 movement profile, modest but useful short range weapons. It still uses a standard engine but stuffs all the slots with Endo and FF. I find all of the Shads before this one make too many compromises for me.

The old manta: speed, armor, firepower--you can pick two of them. I feel like the Succession War Shads said, "naw, I don't want two, I'll just take like 1/2 of all three categories, without being "solidly" in any of them, thank you!"

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #25 on: 13 September 2017, 18:31:02 »
But, really, in 3005, just having a medium mech was a win from the get go, when the three most common mechs in existence were the Locust, Wasp and Stinger. 

Actually, the game in the 3025 era or so said that medium 'Mechs made up about 48-50% of all 'Mech forces, lights were about 35% of the total, heavies about 15%, and assaults were about 1-2% of the total 'Mech forces, IIRC...

The Bug 'Mechs were the most produced individual designs, but overall, there are more medium 'Mechs around than lights...but taken as individual designs, you are probably more likely to pilot a bug 'Mech than any other individual design...

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #26 on: 13 September 2017, 18:50:38 »
Wrong era, same topic. The Shad-5D is the first Shad that really shines for me. Better armor, 5/8/5 movement profile, modest but useful short range weapons. It still uses a standard engine but stuffs all the slots with Endo and FF. I find all of the Shads before this one make too many compromises for me.

I love the 5D, it is no generalist, but it is an awesome mech.

Challenger

Terrace

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #27 on: 13 September 2017, 20:10:45 »
Really, if you wanna go whole-hog on making a -2H into a support machine in the Jihad era, just rip out the missile launchers and two heat sinks, then install an MML-5, consolidate the missile bins, and expand both ammo bins by another ton each. That would give you three tons of missiles, and two tons of AC/5 ammo, allowing you to carry every type of Support ammo (Thunder LRMs, Smoke LRMs, Inferno SRMs, Flak AC/5, and Precision AC/5). The whole thing would still be heat-neutral on a jumping Alpha, which means you can provide support all day long.

JadedFalcon

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #28 on: 14 September 2017, 02:55:04 »
Really, if you wanna go whole-hog on making a -2H into a support machine in the Jihad era, just rip out the missile launchers and two heat sinks, then install an MML-5, consolidate the missile bins, and expand both ammo bins by another ton each. That would give you three tons of missiles, and two tons of AC/5 ammo, allowing you to carry every type of Support ammo (Thunder LRMs, Smoke LRMs, Inferno SRMs, Flak AC/5, and Precision AC/5). The whole thing would still be heat-neutral on a jumping Alpha, which means you can provide support all day long.

The SHD-9D is missing that extra ton of ammo to diversify the light AC.

massey

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Re: The ShadowHawk and Alternate Loadouts.
« Reply #29 on: 14 September 2017, 11:47:18 »
Super-efficient designs are rather boring for gameplay.  I like the Shadowhawk because it gives you a lot of options, even if it isn't pound for pound the most effective design.

The board game rules should probably be seen as an abstraction, and not perfectly representative of the "reality" of combat.  From Alpha Strike, to Battletroops, to Solaris Dueling combat, there have been different rules sets to represent how mechs interact with the world.  I think there's enough variation in these different games for us to say that none of them probably get it exactly right.  In universe, the Shadowhawk seems to be seen as a very effective and versatile medium weight mech.

And plus, it looks really cool.  Easily my favorite mech, appearance-wise.