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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier  (Read 16842 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« on: 23 November 2011, 02:28:49 »
Cavalier Battle Armor - Technical Readout 3058U page 19



     The Cavalier is the cold pizza of the Battle Armor world. You might like it, but it's just a repeat of what you already had with one simple change. Despite its uninspired origins, the Cavalier has probably seen more heavy combat than any other Inner Sphere design, thanks to the Federated Commonwealth Civil War, with only the IS Standard able to compete. Often overlooked in the company of the Infiltrator Mk II or the ground-breaking Hauberk, the Cavalier is the backbone of the AFFS' massive Battle Armor Corps: the Tommy, the GI, the Landser, the common trooper found on just about every battlefield.

     Appearing alongside the Infiltrator Mk II in Field Manual: Federated Suns, the Cavalier was immediately cast in the shade by the more impressive looking and far more advanced design. To this day, I remember the reaction of local players to the Cavalier, which can be summed up with one word: "Meh." This was swiftly followed by arguments that it was a refit rather than a separate design, but even that brief spark of notoriety quickly faded thanks to the design's sheer mediocrity. Parallels are obviously often drawn to the Draconis Combine's Raiden, but that at least started off as a different concept and only ended up as an IS Standard clone in BattleTech game terms due to convergent design processes. Even though the Gray Death Standard also shared the same origin as the Cavalier, the Legion engineers had transformed it into a completely new suit, which operates very differently to its sire. In contrast, the Cavalier is effectively nothing more than a re-skinning of the IS Standard - and not even a particularly good looking one at that - that was developed not in the name of improved performance, but to beat the drum of patriotism.

     Slightly miffed with the secession of the Lyran Alliance and the stinging defeats of Operation Guerrero, Victor Steiner-Davion and the High Command of what was then still called the AFFC decided that they needed to introduce some new units to restore Davion morale and pride. Somewhat akin to treating yourself to a tub of ice cream after a beat down at school, the Suns' military industry duly rolled out designs such as the Enforcer III and JagerMech III, which at least offered different performance to their earlier versions. In the case of the then standard Battle Armor suit in AFFC service at the time, they gave its "Davion pride" replacement fat legs and a ludicrous looking crest. Okay, I'm making something of a cruel joke there (although I mean it), and I know that for some reason every time I read "redesign for Davion pride" I imagine it being said by the Redneck "they took our jobs" characters in South Park, which tends to make me look upon the whole redesign concept with an undercurrent of laughter, but really? The Cavalier re-skin was all they could come up with? Who said NAIS were the best R&D in the Inner Sphere? Are you really sure now?

     Now that I've got that out of my system, I'll move on. The Cavalier redesign at least went swiftly, since all the major work had already been done with the development of the original IS Standard, taking a mere six months from prototype design to final production in July 3058. Lostech gave us some more information regarding the development process, revealing that hundreds of designs and dozens of prototypes were tried and rejected during those months as engineers attempted to balance performance with appearance, as well as some details on the almost cosmetic differences of the production suit compared to the IS Standard. The designers had shifted armor around, reducing the plating on the arms and hands to reinforce the Cavalier's leg protection, a move that caused concern with some in the AFFC, although the design was eventually approved. As shown in Lostech, the Cavalier did have slightly different armor compared to the IS Standard under the original Mechwarrior RPG rules, but within the BattleTech tactical game, and the current roleplaying rules, the two suits are identical in basic performance and structure.

     The Federated Suns' manufacturers all switched over to the Cavalier, making the Suns the only Successor State to willingly halt production of the Inner Sphere Standard. What then happened to those IS Standards already in Davion service isn't completely clear, although judging by the general availability of the older suit there must still be some in the ranks of the AFFS, perhaps in low priority units, and maybe even imported to replace losses. As the most enthusiastic Inner Sphere adoptee of Battle Armor, even as early as 3062 the AFFS fielded a company or more in every Regular infantry regiment, plus others were attached to independent BattleMech regiments that otherwise lacked the heavy infantry support of the Regimental Combat Teams. Most AFFS Battle Armor units also received their own dedicated APC transports, with many likely fielding the popular Cavalier VTOL, which had a variant specifically developed to transport Battle Armor. I have to wonder how many AFFS Battle Armor units have Ride of the Valkyries as the unit tune.

     The majority of the AFFS' Battle Armor ranks would eventually be filled by the Cavalier, resulting in it being built in greater numbers than any other design apart for the IS Standard. Of course, large numbers were required simply to replace losses, but even after the Civil War and Jihad, the amount of armored infantry in the AFFS has increased, even as other ground forces have decreased, with up to a regiment of Battle Armor in the new Light Combat Teams. With this high demand for Battle Armor, the Cavalier's relatively simple and low cost design does make more sense, even if players might wish for something more distinctive. As their bread and butter design, the AFFS apparently have no interest in disrupting deliveries with any form of product improvement program, which makes the Cavalier unique among the Suns' Battle Armor.

     No official variants or upgrades have ever been produced, and the Cavalier even lacks the Light Recoilless Rifle configuration that has become popular with other suits. Whether this last point is another example of the AFFS' occasionally blinkered viewpoint (see the history of OmniMechs in the AFFS) or perhaps a conscious decision to reject a weapon that originated in CCAF service is unknown, although I doubt the latter given that the Suns has willingly adopted other Capellan innovations. Most likely the lack is simply a meta-game issue to attempt to differentiate the Cavalier from the IS Standard and similar suits.

     Given the diversity and superb performance of the other Battle Armor operated by the AFFS, it could be argued that the Suns have little need to bother improving the Cavalier. The Infiltrator Mk II offers a superb scouting and screening suit, the Grenadier is a powerful short-range mugger, and the Hauberk re-wrote the book with its spectacular long-range fire support capability, plus all three can undertake stealthy operations that would stymie the Cavalier. Throw in the remaining Waddles and the new Sloth (Infiltrators), and the lack of a Cavalier variant is perhaps understandable, albeit grudgingly so for those who would have like to have seen a stealthy or otherwise more advanced version.

     It should be no surprise that the Cavalier operates identically to the Inner Sphere Standard, with the same litany of armament choices that have remained constant since the original Elemental. Alongside the familiar Small Laser, Flamer and Machine Gun, the AFFS also added a four-shot single-tube SRM launcher, giving a longer ranged attack with at least some endurance, plus the possibility of Inferno loads. This same launcher was also used by the IS Standard according to Lostech, but by the time Technical Readout 3058U was published the earlier suit had switched to the less than satisfactory one-shot SRM2. Trying to think like a Davion, with their passion for technology and autocannons, I wouldn't be surprise to one day see the Clans' Bearhunter Superheavy AC gracing the right arm of the Cavalier, even if it would be a horrible choice. Obviously there are plenty of other unofficial configurations that would be possible, such as the Light Recoilless Rifle or the Thunderstick - the David Light Gauss Rifle clone produced by Federated-Barrett to arm the experimental Infiltrator Mk II CORAL INTENT - but for players who want to keep to canon, there are only the four options shown in Technical Readout 3058U currently available.

     The Suns' Battle Armor manufacturers came through the Jihad relatively unscathed and are building suits in record numbers according to Objectives: Federated Suns, and as the AFFS' premier design, at least in numbers, the Cavalier has a solid future ahead of it. Its origins and design may be unimaginative, perhaps even unimpressive to some, but it has racked up battlefield experience far exceeding many superior models. With the AFFS continuing their enthusiasm for Battle Armor, that almost matches its famed passion for autocannon, the Cavalier has a solid future ahead of it, and whether in the blood and filth of the battlefield or the shining steel of the parade ground, its chubby thighs and stupid hat will be a familiar sight for decades to come.

Next up:
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Neufeld

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #1 on: 23 November 2011, 04:57:11 »
Another great article!

Also, why are you jumping to the enhanced Sylph and Elemental II? I thought you intended to do the articles in publication order.

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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #2 on: 23 November 2011, 12:35:03 »
Wierd. I swear I answered this earlier, but I just noticed there's no reply.

We are following the order of the publication/production dates, with some adjustments due to the oddballs or shared themes, but jymset thought that as an interlude we should cover a couple of the newer suits. Since the Elemental has already been done and the Sylph is coming up next week, the Enhanced Sylph and Elemental II presented themselves as good candidates to contrast with their sires.

Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #3 on: 23 November 2011, 13:00:25 »
Nice article.  Personally, as far as battlefield performance, I would just stick an LRR on there and move on with my life.  The lack is pretty notable, especially since it leaves the Cavalier at a distinct disadvantage compared to the other trooper suits (IS Standard, Raiden) that it's facing.

Wildonion

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #4 on: 24 November 2011, 00:31:13 »
Its a real shame that there hasn't been more done with the Cavalier suits, to not even get the LRR is a travesty. Moonsword definitely has the right idea, since it really is just a skin swap with the Inner Sphere Standard. Speaking of which, I have always liked how the Cavalier looks. Sort of a smaller version of the Centurion.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #5 on: 24 November 2011, 02:20:28 »


All you need to do is put a gun in Roger's hand and have him wear one of his silly hats & you have a Cavalier. They're both ugly with chubby legs.

Demos

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #6 on: 24 November 2011, 03:19:50 »
A Cavalier with a MagShot would have been a great addition in the Jihad...

Thanks for the article!
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RedDevilCG

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #7 on: 24 November 2011, 03:59:20 »
Did I miss the article on the Afreet?

Belisarius

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #8 on: 24 November 2011, 04:45:04 »
I'm going to jump in on the 'the Cavalier needs a LRR variant' bandwagon. Really all the suit needs to be as extraordinary as the GD standard is a LRR variation.

Lazarus Jaguar

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #9 on: 24 November 2011, 05:52:52 »
Yeah, it needs something to distinguishmitself.  The mention in the next to last paragraph of the OP about the Bearhunter gave me an idea.  Considering theFedSuns love of autocannons' maybe what they need is to develop some sort of 'micro ac' to arm the cavalier with.

I'd say let's put NAIS on it, but the Toasterworshipers wrecked that.....
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sandstorm

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #10 on: 24 November 2011, 06:31:55 »
Is anyone else seeing the Cav wearing heels? :D
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #11 on: 24 November 2011, 11:56:42 »
A Cavalier with a MagShot would have been a great addition in the Jihad...

Such a variant would have been a nice option, fluffed as a way of providing mainline Battle Units with the range ability of the Magshot without having to assign the less common Infiltrator Mk II or the less mobile and much more expensive Grenadier & Hauberk. It's one of the variants I've used, with some other changes to exploit the removal of the MWM and weight of the Magshot.

Did I miss the article on the Afreet?

The Afreet isn't scheduled for about another 7 weeks, assuming we can keep up the pace.

Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #12 on: 24 November 2011, 12:29:30 »
Any links to that Magshot Cavalier?

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #13 on: 24 November 2011, 14:21:07 »
I vaguely recall posting one version before, presumably it's now on the forum archive, wherever that is now. I've posted the lesser of the designs I've done here.

Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #14 on: 24 November 2011, 14:23:47 »
Thanks!

worktroll

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #15 on: 24 November 2011, 18:31:50 »
Would the 4-shot SRM-1 be carried under the forearm, like the MG? I have dozens and dozens of DA Cavalier minis, mainly using them as feedstock for kitbashes of other BA variants (wait till I get the pics of my Bearhunter Golem up), but the SRM version might actually make a useful variant.

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Isanova

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #16 on: 24 November 2011, 18:41:17 »
Would it have been better to give it advanced armor, for a 12-point armor instead of 10 (I think) ? Something to differentiate.
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #17 on: 24 November 2011, 19:16:29 »
Would the 4-shot SRM-1 be carried under the forearm, like the MG? I have dozens and dozens of DA Cavalier minis, mainly using them as feedstock for kitbashes of other BA variants (wait till I get the pics of my Bearhunter Golem up), but the SRM version might actually make a useful variant.

W.

My guess is yes, the SRM1 would indeed be slung under the forearm. Despite the lack of a manipulator on the right arm of the canon Cavalier, it appears its modular mount is under the forearm instead of being the tip of the forearm, like the IS Standard or Elemental. If you check FM:FS p155 you can see a frontal view of the Cavalier - and that is one fuuuuuugly suit - and it clearly shows the underslung weapon. While running an RPG, I once fluffed that the firing control for the weapons is a simple handgrip that extends up into the rounded fairing that you see in that picture, where it can be grasped by the trooper. This allowed the weapons to be quickly removed for infantry use in an emergency.

I'm not quite sure where the missile reloads would be given how low the weapon gets to the ground in the above picture. Perhaps the magazine clips into the side of the launcher and extends upwards?

Would it have been better to give it advanced armor, for a 12-point armor instead of 10 (I think) ? Something to differentiate.

Medium Battle Armor can only have a maximum of 10 armor. Using Advanced armor would have made it akin to the FWL's Longinus, and it's not know if the Suns had Advanced armor at the time. For that matter, apart from the FWL, only the WoB (naturally), Combine and Taurians have ever fielded Advanced armor.

worktroll

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #18 on: 24 November 2011, 20:12:35 »
I'm not quite sure where the missile reloads would be given how low the weapon gets to the ground in the above picture. Perhaps the magazine clips into the side of the launcher and extends upwards?

I'm thinking more like this, but under-slung:

* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #19 on: 24 November 2011, 20:34:41 »
Awesome (I would have tried to write that with an Arnold accent, but wasn't sure how).

I did think about that, but wasn't sure whether it would be objectionable, although for some reason I also liked the idea of a two-tube unit that had a shallow magazine with just one shot needed to reload each tube. The image of missile launches alternating back and forth between the two tubes just seems more visually appealing to me, not sure why, just one of those things.

worktroll

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #20 on: 24 November 2011, 20:38:28 »
Hmmm ... if I trimmed down one of the SRM-2s off the Clan BA figs (another one I have in pints), that might work as a 2-by-2 pack.

I'm finishing off a bunch of kitbashed BA, it may be a couple of weeks before I'm finished with them all, but this will definitely go into the mix.

So - thanks for the article, which brought the SRM config to my attention!

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* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #21 on: 24 November 2011, 21:26:46 »
Personnelly I like the Cavalier, but I have no taste, but I see it as a mass produced Battle Armor that went for numbers rather than flash. BV-wise they are cheaper than most other Battlearmors I think.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #22 on: 25 November 2011, 00:53:19 »
I was always a bit 'eh' about the looks of it. But when Plog made the following image I had to concede it's awesome.

(Of course the Infiltrator Mk. II is still the most awesome.)

Considering that the Hauberk, Grenadier and Infiltrator Mk. II are well suited for dealing damage to armoured units. I could see the Cavalier being pushed into the role of anti-infantry work. But it just isn't fast enough for that in my mind.
But if it is indeed to remain a trooper battlearmor, it needs to get some load outs that allow it to fit that role.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #23 on: 25 November 2011, 01:08:38 »
Since you posted that picture from FM:FS I feel compelled to finally say the third of the key ugly features of the Cavalier, alongside its chubby legs and ridiculous hat...


It has nipples.


When I first saw those and the stance of its legs, I really worried just what sort of picture inspired the drawing, and whether it would have been more appropriate for the Cavalier to be flat on its back. Add in the gasmask fetishest to its side & I had a whole new viewpoint of BattleTech art.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #24 on: 25 November 2011, 01:25:51 »
The DA fig is mercifully nipple-free, but I suppose I could add some just for you sillybrit ...  :D
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #25 on: 25 November 2011, 01:34:26 »
Aiiieeeee!!!!! Nooooo!!!!!!!

BTW, doesn't it strike anybody as odd how much bigger the Infiltrator Mk II appears to be compared to the Cavalier? They're both in a crouched stance, standing side by side, with the Cavalier closer, but the Infiltrator Mk II looks taller and bulkier.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #26 on: 25 November 2011, 02:26:07 »
Exactly how much mass and space does it have for the modular weapons mount?

What would you think of a Plasma Rifle version, or a Rocket Launcher version?
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #27 on: 25 November 2011, 02:51:10 »
Like all the original standard troopers the Cavalier has a 200kg payload, and since it lacks any form of advanced armor or anything else that eats up slot spaces, it can be configured with 2 slot weapons, such as the LRR or SRM1.

A Plasma Rifle is too heavy at 300kg, although a Cavalier could mount a RL2, however that would be as bad as a SRM2(OS), since you'd not only lose Swarm capability, but only have a single shot that will inflict little damage.

Taurevanime

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #28 on: 25 November 2011, 03:23:53 »
When I first saw those and the stance of its legs, I really worried just what sort of picture inspired the drawing, and whether it would have been more appropriate for the Cavalier to be flat on its back. Add in the gasmask fetishest to its side & I had a whole new viewpoint of BattleTech art.
I think that says more about you than it does the art XD

Anyway do you think the Cavalier could become an anti-infantry battlearmor, or do you think it is too slow for that as well?

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Cavalier
« Reply #29 on: 25 November 2011, 15:09:13 »
I think that says more about you than it does the art XD

*cough* Ahem, ahh, I mean... ummm... no comment!!!!  *ducks, dons fake moustache, runs*  ;)

Quote
Anyway do you think the Cavalier could become an anti-infantry battlearmor, or do you think it is too slow for that as well?

It already can be an anti-infantry suit, just slap on a flamer (ideally) or MG (lesser ideally) and away you go. If you're playing non-canon configurations, then grab the LRR instead. With results that should be familiar to all heavy users of Battle Armor, on average the MG and LRR configs will kill 21 infantry per hit, with the flamer config killing an average of 30.5 per hit. Of course, if the infantry hit you back you're going to take an average of 9 damage for standard rifle foot infantry, as an example, but that's only using the generic PBIs. Slap down some custom infantry or TRO3085 types and you're probably going to take a lot more damage.

If you instead want to go totally non-canon, with a whole new variant, then the answer is something sort of similar to my Arashi design for the DCMS, and involves Firedrakes. Lots of Firedrakes. And APWMs, but they're really not important. The first time a single squad of something like an Arashi takes out 4 platoons in a single turn is one of those Hotel Sierra moments. Alternatively, my two Lyran Cavaliers, aka Reiters - I posited that the Lyrans should have ended up with a fair number of Cavaliers and Cavalier parts as a consequence of the FCCW, and they decided to tweak them - which combine a Firedrake with a LRR or Magshot, give a little more flexibility and most importantly range.

 

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