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Author Topic: Steel Viper OmniMechs and arm-mounted weapon pods  (Read 1513 times)

S.gage

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Steel Viper OmniMechs and arm-mounted weapon pods
« on: 21 January 2014, 03:49:40 »
Hello,

I have a few questions regarding Clan Steel Viper's OmniMech designs, the Crossbow and Battle Cobra, that have been bugging me for some time.  I searched in the forums, but could not find any answers.  I hope this is the appropriate place to ask this question:

I've always liked the the Crossbow and Battle Cobra, not because they are especially deadly, but the characterful descriptions of having solely arm-mounted weapons pods seemed unique.  The original FASA background (from Invading Clans, and TRO 3058 - which has text almost identical to the OmniMech profiles in Invading Clans) made it sound to me like the shortsighted Vipers had Snow Raven scientists develop a slightly different form of OmniMech technology, capable of mounting weapons pods in the arms only, while the torsos were either completely unavailable, or only available for equipment (like heat sinks).  This interpretation was based on passages like the following:

On shortsightedness hindering OmniMech development
Invading Clans, Clan Steel Viper, Golden Century, p. 84
"The Clan's lack of direction fostered by shortsighted Khans held them back in many ways but, most significantly, made the Vipers one of the last Clans to field OmniMechs"

On OmniMechs with arm-mounted weaponry only
TRO 3058, Crossbow, p. 178
"... The Crossbow and her sister 'Mech, the Battle Cobra, mount weapons pods only in their arms, with no additional weaponry--a striking contrast with other Clan OmniMechs."
TRO 3058, Battle Cobra, p. 182
"Like her sister the Crossbow, the Battle Cobra is unusual in Clan OmniMech design.  Only the 'Mech's arms are equipped to accept weapon pods--it's legs and torso are unarmed.  This design characteristic is used to date only by Clan Steel Viper,..."

Additionally, the mass of all pods in all configurations were exactly balanced across the vertical mid-line. 

For whatever reason, I also remember thinking the pods were mountable solely as entire limbs assembled and maintained independently from the Omni, only to be mounted before combat.  This, however, appears to be my extrapolation only, since I found no reference to confirm this idea (no matter how unique it sounds to me).

Fast forward to Fanpro and CGL.  TRO 3058 Upgrade seems to move away solely arm-mounted weapons pods, but only the Crossbow C has >1-ton imbalance.  The Jihad-era Crossbow C and H mount various machine guns in the torsos, while the Battle Cobra H only has pod-mounted heat sinks.  Additionally, the TRO 3058 Upgrade entry for the Battle Cobra seems to evoke thoughts of the original TRO 3058 entry's restriction to arm-mounting Omni pods:

TRO 3058 Upgrade, Battle Cobra, p. 166
"Shortly following the successful debut of the Crossbow in 2870, Clan Steel Viper began work on a second ’Mech based on the arm-mounted weapon pod technology. Another project had already reached the prototype stage, allowing a relatively quick redesign to OmniMech technology."

This leads to my questions:
Can Jihad-era Battle Cobra and Crossbow mount weapon pods in the torsos, or should these designs be considered in error?
If the original restriction to the arms is correct, is this a novel Design Quirk?
If mounting weaponry in the torsos and legs is acceptable, is there a threshold for the type of weaponry mountable in the torsos and legs of these designs (for instance, machine guns are fine but ER PPCs are forbidden)?
Was there a technological change between Battle Cobras and Crossbows of the Golden Century and the Jihad?
If indeed these Omnis cannot (or are not supposed to) mount weapons pods other than in the arms, can you go into more detail regarding this seemingly fundamental difference between Steel Viper OmniMech Technology and the OmniMech Technology pioneered by Clan Coyote?  (This is an open-ended question, like why can Omnis with arm pod-mounted ER PPCs not have lower arm and hand actuators?  - which is also a good question)
Lastly, if this detail has been changed intentionally by Fanpro, can you share the rationale for this change?

Thank you so much for your time and consideration, I stayed up 3 extra hours to research and write, and rewrite this question.  I'm really sorry it is so long.  I'm kaputt #P.

Steve
"WHO PUT 6 ARMOR ON THE RIFLEMAN'S HEAD?!?" - Peter S., while marking damage from a PPC, 1994.
"Ich bin Jadefalke!!!! Ich bin MechKrieger!!!!" - German students on their field trip to Leipzig, 1998.
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Paul

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Re: Steel Viper OmniMechs and arm-mounted weapon pods
« Reply #1 on: 21 January 2014, 08:17:52 »
Can Jihad-era Battle Cobra and Crossbow mount weapon pods in the torsos, or should these designs be considered in error?

They're OmniMechs. The arm-mounted pod stuff is just fluff.


Quote
If the original restriction to the arms is correct, is this a novel Design Quirk?

No.


Quote
If mounting weaponry in the torsos and legs is acceptable, is there a threshold for the type of weaponry mountable in the torsos and legs of these designs (for instance, machine guns are fine but ER PPCs are forbidden)?

No threshold.


Quote
Was there a technological change between Battle Cobras and Crossbows of the Golden Century and the Jihad?

No.


Quote
If indeed these Omnis cannot (or are not supposed to) mount weapons pods other than in the arms, can you go into more detail regarding this seemingly fundamental difference between Steel Viper OmniMech Technology and the OmniMech Technology pioneered by Clan Coyote?

There is no appreciable difference.


Quote
(This is an open-ended question, like why can Omnis with arm pod-mounted ER PPCs not have lower arm and hand actuators?  - which is also a good question)

It's not clear at this point why that decision was made by FASA.


Quote
Lastly, if this detail has been changed intentionally by Fanpro, can you share the rationale for this change?

It's not a change. They've always been OmniMechs.

Paul
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wantec

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Re: Steel Viper OmniMechs and arm-mounted weapon pods
« Reply #2 on: 21 January 2014, 10:12:03 »
To continue and expand a little further on Paul's answers, the restriction of weapons to the arms is only a limitation of the designers, it's not a rule thing. However we see something similar in the design of the Gargoyle (Man O'War) and it's early variants. In the Gargoyle's TRO entry in TRO3050U, it says that limiting the weapons to the arm pods made changing out the Omni configuration faster and easier. Being that the Crossbow and Battle Cobra were earlier OmniMechs, it's possible that the Vipers simply wanted to create Omnis that were easier/faster to repair, maintain, and change configurations. And when mechanizing Battle Armor came around as a common tactic, the Battle Armor located on the torsos wouldn't block any weapons on the Battle Cobra or Crossbow.
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S.gage

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Re: Steel Viper OmniMechs and arm-mounted weapon pods
« Reply #3 on: 21 January 2014, 12:07:11 »
Thank you so much for your consideration!  I guess my fanciful extrapolations were just that, fanciful.
Steve
"WHO PUT 6 ARMOR ON THE RIFLEMAN'S HEAD?!?" - Peter S., while marking damage from a PPC, 1994.
"Ich bin Jadefalke!!!! Ich bin MechKrieger!!!!" - German students on their field trip to Leipzig, 1998.
Custom Early Clan Refit BattleMechs, Custom Novel Golden Century BattleMechs, Custom Early Clan Refit Combat Vehicles, Custom First Generation OmniMechs.