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Author Topic: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II  (Read 1084 times)

Getz

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Following the schism of Comstar after the death of Prius MyndoWaterly, the newly exiled Word of Blake immediately foresaw the need for new mech production.  In 3052 Trent Arian, the Blakist’s first Precentor Martial, struck up a deal with Gibson Federated Mechworks and the relationship rapidly bore fruit.  Taking its name from a quote attributed to Jerome Blake – “those who fight to preserve technology and knowledge are the grandest crusaders of all” - the first battlemech designed specifically for the Word of Blake Militia marched off the production lines in 3053 and would be an important addition to their strength during Operation Odysseus, the invasion of Terra.

Stocky and barrel-chested, the eighty ton Grand Crusader is built on endo steel bones which coupled with the beating heart of a 240 rated Hermes XL engine grants the machine an impressive war load.  Even after caking the mech with the maximum possible fifteen and a half tons of standard armour, the chassis can still support an impressive forty eight and an half tons of weapons and equipment.  The problem is that you only have 28 critical spaces to cram all that gear into.  This would encourage me to go for a predominantly ballistic weapons fit but the Blakists - in their infinite wisdom - took a different path, mixing LRMs with a powerful battery of lasers for medium and short ranged work.  Anyone who’s ever driven an Archer 2K or 5R will feel right at home.

For long ranged fighting you have an Artemis equipped LRM 20 buried in both torsos, each fed by three tons of ammo.  The lack of CASE to protect it is alarming but unfortunately there isn’t the space in the torsos to fit it and with an XL engine an ammo hit is going to disable the mech either way.  For medium and close ranged firepower, each arm carries a large and medium pulse laser and a head mounted AMS system provides an extra layer of protection against missiles.  It is fed from a two ton bin mounted in the centre torso – a relic of earlier times when you could burn through all that ammo in a couple of turns.

A mere ten double heat sinks struggle to handle all the heat generated by this powerful battery and although it would be easy to free up the tonnage to mount extra heat sinks, once again there simply isn’t anywhere to mount them seeing as the engine can’t fully contain the ten heat sinks it came with.  As it is, the GRND-D-01’s heat curve is punishing to say the least.  At long ranges everything is fine, but as soon as your enemy closes to 300 metres, you quickly find yourself in a quandary.  Adding even one large pulse laser to your LRM fire will tip your heat scale up a few points.  Firing both will result in a short ride to shutdown town – especially if the AMS goes off at the wrong moment.  At closer ranges things don’t get any easier - the pulse lasers positively demand to be volley fired or else you’ll rapidly lose speed and accuracy from what is already a slow mech that struggles to control the range against most enemies.  On the whole you’re best off treating the second large pulse laser as a spare, only to be used in dire emergencies or after the first has been destroyed.  For all that, it isn’t hard to find a role for the GRN-D-01 – it’s a great bodyguard for an assault weight fire support lance made of Vikings or Longbows.  Its missile throw weight is nothing to be sniffed at and anything fast that tries to close with the lance will not enjoy the attention of its pulse lasers.   Also, don't forget that you can flip your arms (whatever the art implies) so you're well equipped to tackle backstabbers.

A pretty modest refit, the GRN-D-02 is nevertheless a very practical upgrade to the Grand Crusader.  The medium pulse lasers are removed - and with them most of your short ranged heat problems – and replaced with a pair of Artemis IV equipped LRM 5s.  To make this all balance up the AMS is sacrificed and a single ton of ammo for the new launchers sits where the AMS ammo used to be.  Of the two original Grand Crusaders, this is easily my favourite – it basically and advanced tech Longbow 7Q and whilst two Large pulse lasers isn’t the most efficient way of going about close range protection, you can at least use them whilst only generating movement heat.  However, no matter how tempting it might seem, it is seriously unwise to alpha strike a target at 210 metres.

And for a long time that was it, but eventually the Word of Blake decided to start up new production lines for Grand Crusader to take advantage of unused production capacity in the Krupp and Skobel factories on Terra.  Utilising spare materials from the Legacy production lines, the subsequent two variants looked and performed differently enough to merit being rechristened the Grand Crusader II.

You’d think that the obvious next generation Grand Crusader would integrate C3i technology into the existing slow, missile based assault paradigm and give the Wobblies a fantastic fire support platform, but instead the GRN-D-03 decides it wants none of that and opts to be a multi-role combatant.  The endo-steel chassis remains but now the engine is a 320 light which weighs more than twice as much as the original.  Combined with the all new triple strength myomer the GRN-D-03 can reach 85 km/h under ideal circumstances and it can also jump 120 metres, but this also means that a beefier gyro is required so the war load is now only 33 tons.  A fair amount of weight is saved by replacing the earlier model's pulse lasers with their extended range equivalents, now mounted asymmetrically with two large lasers in the right arm and three mediums in the left.  The right torso mounts an LRM 15 - still with Artemis but fed by only one ton of ammo - whereas on the left the LRM has been removed entirely and replaced by a Streak SRM 6 with a matching single ton of ammo.  The AMS is gone, replaced by a C3i computer nestled in the centre torso and the left torso has CASE protection.  Finally, two extra double heat sinks are slotted into the engine, but they still struggle to cope with the ferocious heat surge unleashed by cutting loose with the laser battery.

Presumably this was all done to differentiate the Grand Crusader from the Legacy-02 in the low end assault role but Skobel immediately undermined that with the Legacy LGC-03 which essentially does the exact same job but better.  Even on its own merits the GRN-D-03 has some issues as the heat curve is fiddly to say the least, although it's slightly more permissive than the older machines.  It's not hard to get to the magic TSM sweet spot - just fire the long range weapons while jumping - but staying there is a swine, especially when you consider that half your short ranged firepower comes from a streak missile launcher.  Basically, the TSM is there because it fits and if you happen to get some use out of it then so much the better.

The second Grand Crusader II and final entry in the series takes a radically different approach.  Developed simultaneously to the 03, the GRN-D-04 has the same speed, chassis, armour, TSM, C3i and also have the same Streak SRM6 with a single CASE protected ton of ammo on the left side.  This time, however, the primary long ranged weapons are an ER PPC and a Light Gauss Rifle mounted in the right and left arms respectively.  The Light Gauss is supplied with two tons of ammo and there are ER medium laser in each arm.  All this is cooled by eleven double heat sinks so although you can get reasonably warm by going absolutely nuts with the alpha strike button, generally speaking this is a well cooled machine.  Don't be expecting to get a lot of use out of the TSM - if something closes with you, firing off everything might get the myomer hot enough for the dreaded thirty two point kick (Streak SRMs again) but you're unlikely to get the speed boost in the usual run of play.  The GRN-D-04 is also rather under gunned for an eighty ton machine - one could easily squeeze a very similar weapons load and movement profile into a mech ten tons lighter - however, unlike a smaller machine the 04 has the ammo and armour to hold out just about forever if it fights the way it's meant to and keeps its distance.

So, putting aside the GRN-D-04 for a moment, the defining experience of running the first three Grand Crusaders is managing the heat curve.  They are all bracket firers, all of them tempt you to fire more weapons than your probably should at 210 metres and all of them will punish you severely if you succumb to that temptation too often.  The original pair are best used as missile boats with unusually heavy back up armaments - treat them like a Longbow that can actually look after itself in a knife fight and you can't go far wrong.  However, the GRN-D-03 is a very different beast to its predecessors, suggesting an aggressive, in-yer-face, fighting style.  Fire off that single ton of LRM ammo as you close then hammer away with as many weapons as you dare, kicking and punching whenever you get the chance.  The GRN-D-04, by contrast, is a straight up C3i sniper with tremendous endurance that can work in anything between a medium and assault weight level II.

Usually when you're taking on inner sphere LRM boat, closing and ducking under the minimum range of the missiles is a good plan.   However, if you're facing down the GRN-D-01 or 02, that becomes a much less attractive idea and there isn’t really an ideal range at which to engage them.  Aside from that they've got a thick skin and potentially AMS, but lots of squishy stuff under the shell that doesn't like being messed with so bust them open with big energy or ballistic weapons and then have a rummage around looking for one of the many, many explosive components inside.  The C3i equipped versions are rather different.  Both are simultaneously harder to hit and tougher to kill thanks to their oversized light engines, jump jets and low ammo loads, whilst being able to dish out similar amounts of damage thanks to their slightly less restrictive heat curves.  You also need to consider the Grand Crusader II's team mates.  The 04 will certainly have something swift working as a spotter for it whereas the 03 will probably be taking the middle position in a Blakist level II.

Needless to say, the Grand Crusader was far too closely associated with the Word of Blake to survive beyond the jihad and it's thoroughly extinct now.  In truth, there would be little need to keep the design alive even if it didn't have such a black reputation - the Inner Sphere doesn't lack for assault weight missile boats nor oversized heavies.  Further, the Grand Crusader was eclipsed in its own lifetime as the military icon of Word of Blake, replaced by the Celestial series.  However, the Grand Crusader will always be their first home grown battlemech and for at a decade it was the face of Word of Blake Militia - and it deserves respect and recognition for that.

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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #1 on: 10 August 2018, 13:48:29 »
One thing to note about the 04: it's got nothing crittable in the Right Torso aside from the two engine slots.  It really needs to keep enemies out of its right arc.

In both versions, I really feel like the mech has an odd, unfinished look that doesn't really fit with the Word's typical design aesthetic at all.

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garhkal

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #2 on: 10 August 2018, 15:15:32 »
Seems like a very slow charger.  BUT the weaponry seems nice.
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Getz

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #3 on: 10 August 2018, 15:29:59 »
In my mind the big problem with it is that pretty much anything a Grand Crusader can do, a Legacy can do it better - and the Legacy looks a hell of a lot cooler...

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Colt Ward

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #4 on: 10 August 2018, 15:46:37 »
The Grand Crusader was always a mech I wanted to see on the table more . . . heck I would have liked to see a -02W2 with Snubbies instead of Large Pulses, but I would need to sit in front of HMP.  I also wonder if the same size LFE might be better than a XL.

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Darkwing

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #5 on: 10 August 2018, 16:30:22 »
I've always gotten great mileage out of the Grand Crusader as a bodyguard unit. Couple of Vanquishers, a Couple of Grand Crusader all covering advancing Legacy's. The analogy of it being an advanced Longbow is spot on. I would have loved to see it embrace the midfield role by having a variant that packed MML's and a c31, but sadly that never came to be. Still, while it has never been a star player, the GC has never let me down either. 
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Kidd

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #6 on: 10 August 2018, 16:41:23 »
Always a great WOBM filler Mech, alongside other 1st-gen WOB stuff like the Toyama and Grim Reaper

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #7 on: 10 August 2018, 17:25:23 »
I've always just loved the visual for the original.  It's a big, barrel-chested bruiser that just looks mean.  Too bad its Unseen.
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Maelwys

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #8 on: 10 August 2018, 20:20:00 »
I've always liked the Grand Crusader. Its a nice little oddball that has worked well for me.

The Grand Crusader II..it goes beyond oddball. Its straight up into the quirky realm. I mean, it works, but it seems like you're always fiddling around with it, struggling to get it right.

Amusingly, the fluff states that one of the complaints about the Grand Crusader that lead to the Grand Crusader II was "limited long-range firepower."

So it went from twin LRM20s with Artemis (Or twin LRM20s with Artemis and Twin LRM5s with Artemis) to Twin ERLLs and a LRM15 with Artemis, or a LGR and an ERPPC. I can't help but wonder what the thoughts were when pilots saw the new paradigm.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #9 on: 10 August 2018, 20:27:34 »
"What were they smoking?"

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SteelRaven

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #10 on: 10 August 2018, 23:15:24 »
I do dig the original look of the mech for whatever reason


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garhkal

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #11 on: 11 August 2018, 01:00:33 »
I do dig the original look of the mech for whatever reason


Almost looks like a pair of gauss cannons on the back!
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Luciora

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #12 on: 11 August 2018, 01:47:42 »
And of course the fact the original text had the LRMs rear mounted and fluffed to be able slide over the head and fire in a 360 degree arc.

Maelwys

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #13 on: 11 August 2018, 10:29:52 »
IIRC, that bit of fluff was given a nod to in the BattleMech Manual Quirks list (beta), but disappeared with the final version, where the Grand Crusader wound up with the rather boring "Bad reputation quirk and the Grand Crusader II with the Stable, Easy to Maintain, and Bad Reputation quirks.

Wrangler

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #14 on: 11 August 2018, 19:28:24 »
Another last wrinkle to the design.  Rumored Omni-version of the Grand Crusader, which was dropped to pursue Celestial Series of OmniMechs.
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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #15 on: 11 August 2018, 19:59:55 »
honestly the original Grand Crusader feels very much to me an attempt to make an IS Vulture Prime with better armor (and resultingly slower speed.)

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #16 on: 12 August 2018, 06:44:12 »
Very good article on a pretty interesting Mech although I never cared for the barrels on barrels with connecting joints kind of look.
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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #17 on: 12 August 2018, 09:27:52 »
honestly the original Grand Crusader feels very much to me an attempt to make an IS Vulture Prime with better armor (and resultingly slower speed.)

Gasp.  That why I always liked the loadout.  It never really clicked but you're right: its basically a trumped-up IS Mad Dog.  My inner Ghost Bear was trying to get out all this time!
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Luciora

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #18 on: 12 August 2018, 09:59:29 »
The mini could have been rendered so much better, I feel. 

I do dig the original look of the mech for whatever reason


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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #19 on: 12 August 2018, 14:06:17 »
That anime-influenced art looks like the guns in back were intended to be Jet pack or booster (aka JumpJets).
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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #20 on: 12 August 2018, 15:35:13 »
The mini could have been rendered so much better, I feel.

The art for the Grand Crusader always looked better in motion vs static. The mini has the similar 'give me a hug' pose as the one piece Kodiak, far from a bad mini but rather plain.

That anime-influenced art looks like the guns in back were intended to be Jet pack or booster (aka JumpJets).

Well, a good number of VMI mechs started off as totally different mechs but the 'tubes' never made much sense to me unless those are super big Medium Lasers on par with the Behemoth's dorsal Small Laser. Looks cool but doesn't reflect the BT stats at all unless you can shoot LRMs out of a cannon :D
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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #21 on: 12 August 2018, 22:20:51 »
"What was were they the Blessed Blake smoking?"
Fixed that for you.

Luciora

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #22 on: 12 August 2018, 22:28:10 »
Clapton was involved.....so...

Fixed that for you.

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #23 on: 13 August 2018, 10:05:52 »
The art for the Grand Crusader always looked better in motion vs static. The mini has the similar 'give me a hug' pose as the one piece Kodiak, far from a bad mini but rather plain.

Well, a good number of VMI mechs started off as totally different mechs but the 'tubes' never made much sense to me unless those are super big Medium Lasers on par with the Behemoth's dorsal Small Laser. Looks cool but doesn't reflect the BT stats at all unless you can shoot LRMs out of a cannon :D

Maybe those are cylindrical missile racks.

And for all the shortcomings of the original, remember this is the Word of Blake's first attempt at designing an Assault 'Mech. AFAIK they didn't have an in house design capability before, so it makes sense they wouldn't get a massive success the first time.

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #24 on: 14 August 2018, 14:51:26 »
Anyone ever tried to make the reseen look a bit more like the unssen? I think the reseen looks rather boring and I dont like the loadouts. Give me the IS Vulture!

Maelwys

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #25 on: 16 August 2018, 01:02:10 »
Can't really do it. Well you probably could, but it would kind of suffer in comparison in my mind.

Its a shame the originals didn't get any simple upgrades for the Jihad.

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #26 on: 16 August 2018, 02:04:24 »
If you could get one with two left arms, that'd be a start. Then build up the existing vents on the shoulders into something closer to the smokestacks on the original. Some putty or clay to provide a diagonal cover down from the outer tip of the shoulder 'wing', and some new missile ports on the chest.

Hmmmm ....
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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #27 on: 17 August 2018, 01:14:08 »
IIRC, that bit of fluff was given a nod to in the BattleMech Manual Quirks list (beta), but disappeared with the final version, where the Grand Crusader wound up with the rather boring "Bad reputation quirk and the Grand Crusader II with the Stable, Easy to Maintain, and Bad Reputation quirks.

Yes, the BMM Beta had the Grand Crusader with Directional Torso Mounted LRMs. Since other variants didn't have the LRMs, the quirk was removed.

Maelwys

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #28 on: 17 August 2018, 02:14:04 »
But that doesn't make sense?

All variants of the Grand Crusader (01 and 02) have the LRM20s with Artemis.

The Grand Crusader IIs don't have the LRM20's sure, but that's a completely different design, and has its own quirks.

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Re: Mech of the Week: GRN-D-* Grand Crusader/Grand Crusader II
« Reply #29 on: 19 August 2018, 01:42:30 »
That's the reason I was given when the quirk got removed, which is a shame. I really like the DTM quirk for somewhat obvious reasons.

 

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