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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu  (Read 3827 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« on: 21 April 2011, 00:40:06 »
MIK-O Tatsu - 70t, TRO3067
Originally posted 22 Mar. 2006.

  All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread.


  Building on the institutional lore and experience found in the quite successful S-4/S-7 Sai, the MIK-O Tatsu was meant to be a full-blown, Combine-indigenous OmniFighter, rather than a copy of something the Smoke(d) Jaguars converted primarily as a slap-in-the-face to the Dracs.  :D  Seeking to correct some of the “egregious errors” (???) of the Sai, the Tatsu was meant to be a complement to ground-based OmniMechs (both tactically and psychologically - proving that the Snakes could actually match anything the vatjobs could throw at them in the air, as well as on the ground).
  (One question, though: what does ‘Tatsu’ mean, and why was it used as the official type designation, instead of the ‘slangification’ of the alphanumeric more often found in CBT equipment?  Because IMO, they missed out on a damned fine name for a Combine starfighter, being that ‘Miko’, to the best of my knowledge, means ‘shaman’ or ‘sorcerer’ - and speaking for myself, flying a ship named ‘Sorcerer’ would have had all kinds of a cool factor.  It’d slot into the Combine’s ‘S’-theme just fine, too....
  (But they didn’t do it.  [Jubal Early] “Does that seem right to you?” [/Early]  ::)
  (A poster to the original thread told me that “Miko” better translates as ‘priestess’ or ‘temple maiden’ - which would make a less than completely ‘macho’ appellation for a starfighter and may explain the actual name: Tatsu is, apparently, a Japanese word for ‘dragon’, a slightly more ethno-centric synonym for the (possibly-Chinese-derived?) word ‘ryu’.  I still say they should’ve gone with the original, but you know Dracs and their chauvinism....  ;D)

  Considering that it weighs in at the top end of the ‘medium’ category but only develops 5/8 thrust off its 210XLFE and five tons of gas, it’s pretty clear from the outset that the Tatsu is meant for a heavy-hitting attack role, seeking to preserve the maximum possible mass-fraction for pod-space/warload.  (I won’t say it’s before time, either - despite my love for the DCMS fighter corps as a tactical package, outside of a few testbed LCF-15K Lucifers, it’s rather lacking an attack-bird with real knock-out punch.  (Huh - just noticed that I covered the Lucy exactly one year before this article was first run.  Trippy.  ::)))
  The fluff contradicts the crunch on the next point, though, saying that ‘some’ ferro-aluminium armour was left off to preserve the pod-space fraction.  By ‘some’, I think they mean ‘all’: when I first wrote this FotW, HM:A and Chaosmarch.com agreed that the MIK-O’s 86/69/40 armour layout is the product of sixteen-point-five tons of conventional armour-plate.  :D  ‘Whoops’, perhaps... but misfluffed or not, the Tatsu enjoys enviable protection, being vulnerable to thresholding by medium lasers of either technology base only in its aft sector - which is of no small benefit, given that many Tatsu were deployed directly into the Combine’s zones-of-contact with the Clans.  :o
  Finally, we have the Tatsu’s primary purpose in being: its not-inconsiderable pod-space fraction.  The design goal was to create a fighter with the maximum, massive ability to put steel-on-target in the air-to-surface (and anti-’Shipping?) role(s).  With forty-one tons of pod-space - rivalling even the staggering internal-ordnance capability of the justly-feared Eisensturm - and ten DHS in its ‘empty’ state, the MIK-O is certainly well-equipped to make the other guy’s life a living hell - and then a very dead hell.  ;D  Externals are nothing spectacular, ten tons at 3/5... but that’s enough for more gas, or a few extra RLs to put some extra icing on the cake.  ;)

  Tatsu Prime makes use of the signature Kuritan weapon the MRM... albeit use which seems counterintuitive on first glance.  The nose houses twin ERMLs and an MRM-10 with a ton of ammo; each wing bears two pulse-lasers, a large and a medium; aft, we have an MRM-30(!) with three(!) tons of ammo; the whole is bolstered with the installation of four extra freezers.  At first, I wondered precisely WTF the Combine designers were thinking in putting the biggest missile-launcher sticking out the ship’s ass-end... then I looked at the heat-scale, and light dawned.  With a heat-capacity of twenty-eight and three forward arcs generating fourteen heat each, the Tatsu can be used for fearsome strafing attacks with its wing-lasers or slashing attacks with one wing and the nose-weapons - all without generating any heat-deficit.  When the forward MRM launcehr runs out of bullets or the plane’s fuel starts to get low, you can make for home and use carefully-judged combinations of the forward lasers and the MRM-30 to fend off attackers and/or blast a clear lane of retreat through the enemy, still without generating any real heat-problems.  And of course, if you’re just feeling spiteful (or have committed to a high-velocity vector through the enemy’s formation), that aft MRM mount can make for a very healthy dose of ‘industrial-strength deterrent’ for any would-be back-stabbers or pursuers, or a nasty little ‘PS: you’re dead!’ to any ’Ship you’re hitting.
  Maximum yield for the Capital bays for a six-ship squadron of MIK-O Primes, by the way:
  Nose: ERMLs - 6 Capital, MRMs - 4 Capital
  Wings: LPL bay - 5 Capital per wing, MPL bay 4 Capital per wing
  Aft: MRM-30 - 11 Capital(!)
  Okay, so the biggest single bay is still the one sticking out your back-end, but the forward ones can chew even bigger holes in an enemy ’Ship when taken together, and the MRMs leave a ’Ship captain with the devil’s choice: maintain his orientation, and leave his savaged armour exposed to the fighter strikes which may follow the Tatsu unit... or roll ship, presenting fresh armour to the new attackers, and his already-wounded flank to the MRM-30 racks of the receding MIK-O squad?
  Well, dilemmas like that are why the black-water boys get paid the big bucks, huh?  }:)

  Tatsu Alpha is an unabashed flashbulb: twin ERPPCs in the nose, four(!) MPLs in each wing, and eleven more DHS to try to manage the fearsome heat.  I wouldn’t recommend alpha-striking this configuration - Bad Things happen when you overheat by +20 per turn, dong ma? - but you can use any two bays freely, and that’s probably enough for government work.  :P  With the Long-range hitting power the Prime conspicuously lacks and more than enough firepower to vapourise handle anyone who tries getting in close, the Alpha makes a really, really good ‘back-up man’ to the Prime, ready to shoot them in on their targets - and bale them out if things get a little too dicey.  The mere idea of Strafes or Strikes from an Alpha get me ‘all worked up just thinkin’ about ’em!’, and I wouldn’t be shy about using them as anti-’Ship snipers, either - a squadron’s Long-range 12-Capital bay is a worthwhile capability, and two doses of 14(!) capital from the two MPL clusters at point-blank range wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be considered ‘lightweight’, either.  :o  Just make sure your escorts stick close - no crowd-pleaser tail-guns this time around.

  Tatsu Bravo is a missile-support/crit-seeker loadout.  The nose mounts an LB-10X autocannon with two tons of ammo; each wing holds twin ERMLs for ‘token self-defence’, backing up an Artemis’d LRM-15 with three(!) tons of ammo per rack; two more DHS are slotted in to keep heat more-or-less under control.  Clearly meant to stand back and pelt the other guy with a constant hail of proximity-fused Cluster-shot and fiendishly accurate missile-swarms, with the lasers coming into play only if the ammo runs out (shyeah, right!), the Bravo is less likely to set the world on fire than its stable-mates, but it makes for a good Long-to-Medium-range complement to both the Prime and the Alpha and is more likely to reward thoughtful employment than the ‘Hulk SMASH!’ of the foregoing configs.  By added way of ‘compensation’, though, I’d have to hazard that the Bravo jocks are more likely to get credit for air-to-ground ’Mech kills: once the Prime or Alpha get done with their thing and tear off all the armour, the Bravo can come stooping in with all that crit-seeking goodness, finish the job, and scoop up the glory.  ;D
  Squadron anti-’Ship bays: Nose is 4 or 6 capital (depending on cluster or slug loads), with two 7-point LRM racks and a pair of 6-point ERML bays.  Not overpowering in themselves, as noted, but good for exploiting weaknesses.

  Tatsu Charlie... was somebody watching Robotech reruns again?  Because holy GEE-zus!  A Medium-range-or-closer smasher which can undoubtedly tear the armour off of even the heaviest ’Mechs in one or two salvoes, the Charlie mounts twin SSRM-6s in the nose, with a more-than-ample ton of ammo per rack, and each wing houses an MRM-40(!) and three tons of ammo!  :o
  Most really, really big CBT weapons-systems tend to either crit-seek (LB-20X with cluster ammo, LRM-20s) or punch massive holes (GRs, heavy UACs, some energy weapons).  Despite that +1 TH penalty, which usually discourages me in light of my luck with the dice (Hellbie, y’ain’t got nuthin’ on me!  :P), the beauty of MRMs is that they can do massive damage while crit-seeking!  With a little luck on the missile-hit and hit-location rolls, all those five-point clusters can strip even the biggest ’Mech right to the endoskeleton in one massive blast and look for the crunchy stuff inside.  When you put two MRM-40s onto a target at once, then follow with twin Streak-6s to exploit the inevitable holes... well, you folks are imaginative, I’m sure you can picture the horror well enough on your own.  }:)  ::)
  The only problem with this loadout is a rather finicky heat-curve.  Lacking additional heat-sinks over the base ten, you can use one MRM-40 and both Streaks without overheating, or both MRM-40s at a mere +4 heat if you want to deliver a single crushing Strike, but using all those missile at once hits +12 heat, which... could probably be better.  :D
  Good news for ’Ship-hunters?  If you don’t mind having to get into Short-range to do it, you can theoretically dish out three(!) 14-Capital bays on your enemies.  Don’t forget to talk to your resident hackers: they need to call ahead to the ’Ship’s Quartermaster, so he can lay in a deluxe-size shipment of his captain’s painkiller of choice.  :P

  Anyone using Tatsu units needs to bear in mind the usual tactical advice, of course.  MIK-O squads are very much not short of firepower, but you need to keep them well-guarded against lighter enemy birds, so keeping squadrons of your own fast-dogfighters nearby would be a very good idea - being that the DCMS’ Sai S-4 and S-7 models are both quick, nimble, and well-armed, you’re good there.  ;)  Of course, if they have the support of a couple of wing-pairs of Shilones as well... well, there’s a very good reason why I saved the DCMS Overview for near the end of my original run of FotW: in the IS, nothing else comes close.  ;D

  Beating back units of MIK-O OmniFighters isn’t as easy as you’d think, because (as just mentioned) you’re highly unlikely to find them without layer upon layer of mutually-supporting escorts/companions.  You’ll need to strip away those layers of protection with your own interceptors and dogfighters, then go after the Tatsu with your ‘main force’.  Make sure it’s got enough punch to get through that brick-like armour, enough mobility to get into the thing’s vulnerable rear-aspect, and enough reach to steer clear if it turns out you’re tailing Primes - a dose or two from an MRM-30 can bring a tear to anyone’s eye.  (Waves to the firm fan faves based on these criteria: the Seydlitz, Visigoth and the Eisensturm;D)


  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,4861.0.html


  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript(s) of previous run(s) of this thread may contain numerous reader-proposals for variants.  I’ll try to change those out for ‘sanitised’ versions of those threads when I can, but I can’t promise it’ll be soon - that’s a lot of ground to cover.  ;)

Neufeld

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #1 on: 21 April 2011, 04:09:18 »
My first impression of the Tatsu was low, you have managed to raise it to acceptable. Still, the aft armor is too weak for a 5/8 bird.

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Jellico

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #2 on: 21 April 2011, 06:42:06 »
Just confirmed that Tatsu is a dragon.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #3 on: 21 April 2011, 07:39:55 »
The armor is an issue, but the firepower is very pleasing.  Mix them with Shilones, Slayers, and Sais to keep the other guy from getting cute, then go to town.  I do wish we had a wider variety of configurations.  I'll post a few ideas over in the Workshop thread later, I think.

Fallen_Raven

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #4 on: 21 April 2011, 15:39:20 »
Glad to see the Dracs have embrassed their anime ancestory. More missles, who cares if they hit!
Subtlety is for those who lack a bigger gun.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #5 on: 21 April 2011, 16:49:29 »
I'm not impressed with the Tatsu.  It's either too slow for a middleweight or too light for a slow attack craft.  Add in tail armor designed to attract crits, and it just underscores the combine's lack of a true heavy attack platform. 

lowrolling

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #6 on: 21 April 2011, 20:48:15 »
I agree on the lack of speed being the breaking point. Give me something I can use.
May no one ever know less then me......

Jellico

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #7 on: 21 April 2011, 21:43:02 »
Interesting thought. Where is the Tatsu meant to fly? Different design schemes work better in different environment. For example thrust and firepower are more important in atmosphere while armour is king in space.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #8 on: 21 April 2011, 21:47:35 »
My guess is atmospheric attack jobs, then.  Although frankly, anyone complaining about too much about the armor needs to go ride in a Chippewa or Trident for a while to see what an eggshell-armored hammer really is.

Ian Sharpe

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #9 on: 21 April 2011, 22:44:57 »
Aye, not seeing the armour as a terrible weak point.  Its armoured better than the Transgressor, except aft, where the armour is the same.  A few points from the nose to the aft wouldn't hurt, but its not some crippling aspect either.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #10 on: 22 April 2011, 07:57:21 »
What gets me (and seemingly Trace and Neufeld) is that it's an annoying weak point.  One that didn't really need to be there and exposes it to an awful lot of weapons (5 points is where most of the clusters stop as well as ISMLs these days).  It's not some great critical flaw, but it runs risks it didn't needed to if they'd armored the tail even the slightest bit better, especially in light of how good the rest of the armor really is.

Jellico

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #11 on: 22 April 2011, 17:07:20 »
One can obsess over thresholds. Does it matter if the aft arc can be thresholded by a medium laser if the forward arcs are weakened to a point that their ability to take raw damage is compromised?

Besides. Armour values ending in 1 always look gamey.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #12 on: 22 April 2011, 17:12:30 »
So take three points - one from the other three sides.  I'm not that picky.  That 40 point number, because of the importance of the threshold it just barely misses, is more annoying than most cases would be.

Neufeld

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #13 on: 23 April 2011, 03:17:24 »
One can obsess over thresholds. Does it matter if the aft arc can be thresholded by a medium laser if the forward arcs are weakened to a point that their ability to take raw damage is compromised?

Yes, it matters. If it was only medium lasers, it might be acceptable, but the way clusters work in aerospace means that each and every cluster weapon that does at least five points of total damage will threshold the rear.

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We will be used to subdue the Capellan Confederation. We will be used to bring the Free Worlds League to heel. We will be used to
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-- Elias Crichell

A. Lurker

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #14 on: 23 April 2011, 03:41:46 »
Arguments like this are part of why I like the StratOps Variable Damage Threshold optional rule more and more each day. ;)

Jellico

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #061 (repost) - Tatsu
« Reply #15 on: 26 November 2013, 11:01:21 »
RS3145 gives us a new Tatsu variant. The MIK-0F.

I am really struggling to describe this variant. Like all Tatsus it is a compromised mix of heat sinks and weapons. A nose mounted Large Re-engineered Laser in the nose, with a Large Re-engineered Laser and MML7 in each wing. The heat sinks allow two lasers and both MMLs to be fired at once. The best MIK-0F can manage is 34. That is pretty anaemic for something with forty-one tons of pod space at short range. A MIK-0B will do 32 at medium range and no damage loss against reflective enemies.
I guess looked at that way it is pretty much run-of-the-mill for a Tatsu.