Friday, September 2, 2011

"Red" Reviews: Timberwolf (Mad Cat)

Name: Timberwolf (Mad Cat)

Mech Class: Heavy

Weight: 75 Tons

Tech Base: Clan Omni

Primary Manufacturer:
Clan Wolf

Olympiad Mechwarrior:
Harry "Flashy" Flashman

Looking vaguely like a cross between the Marauder and Catapult (hence the Inner Sphere code name Mad Cat - MAD is the call sign for the Marauder, and Phelan Kell's Wolfhound's targeting computer marked the Catapult as CAT; Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht officially designated it "Mad Cat"), the Timber Wolf, is a fast heavy OmniMech and vastly more powerful than either of the 'Mechs it resembles. Eponymous with the Clans' military might, the Timber Wolf was the first Clan OmniMech encountered by Inner Sphere forces on The Rock in 3049 by Phelan Kell.

The Timber Wolf uses its speed and firepower to engage an enemy at the range of its choosing. When first encountered by Inner Sphere forces the idea that a heavy 'Mech could move so swiftly while being as heavily armed and armored as the Timber Wolf was inconceivable. With its twelve tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor and arsenal that rivaled that of most assault 'Mechs of the era, it was completely alien to Inner Sphere military planners, commanders, and even the Precentor Martial of ComStar. Since then, the secrets of the technology that makes the Timber Wolf possible have been learned by the Inner Sphere, though they are unable to duplicate the technology in any real quantity. Even with this information, with its reconfigurable weapons payload and advanced Clan weapons systems, the Timber Wolf is a formidable opponent on any battlefield.

The Timber Wolf was first introduced in 2945. The Timber Wolf, along with the Gargoyle and the Naga, were designed by Clan Wolf as second generation OmniMechs replacements for the aging Woodsman. While the Gargoyle may have been a very capable, fast assault OmniMech, and the Naga may have been an excellent fire-support OmniMech, Clan Wolf (and indeed every other Clan) instantly realized the value of the Timber Wolf; thus, production rights to the Timber Wolf were jealously (and successfully) defended. Only through trade, gifts and battlefield salvage has the Timber Wolf entered the armies of other Clans. Until the invasion of the Inner Sphere, production of the Timber Wolf has been limited to a single facility on Strana Mechty.

The default configuration of the Timber Wolf features a well blended mix of energy and missile weaponry; primarily extended-range lasers and long range missile racks that give the Timber Wolf considerable firepower at medium and long range. A pair of LRM-20 racks supplemented by two Extended Range Large Lasers make up the bulk of the Timber Wolf's firepower. The Timber Wolf also has an array of lighter, shorter ranged weaponry for use once the 'Mech draws closer to its prey; two ER Medium Lasers and a Medium Pulse Laser. Finally, it has two Machine Guns for point defense against infantry. Even on the modern battlefield the primary configuration of the Timber Wolf is a force to be reckoned with.
 * Alt. Config. A - Configured specifically for long range, direct fire combat, the A configuration of the Timber Wolf is armed with a pair of ER PPCs. These give the Timber Wolf A the capability of stripping nearly two tons of armor off of an enemy 'Mech at extreme ranges. For close combat, the A configuration has three Medium Pulse Lasers, an ER Small Laser, and a Streak SRM-6 to find any weak points in an enemy's armor.

* Alt. Config. B - Armed to engage an enemy at either short or long ranges, the B configuration is an attempt to use the Timber Wolf in a workhorse role. For long range combat, a Gauss Rifle and an LRM-10 launcher gives the Timber Wolf B a powerful long range punch. For short to medium range engagements, a Large Pulse Laser is carried. Finally, for short ranges, a Small Pulse Laser and SRM-4 launcher are carried. Additionally, both of the missile launchers are linked to an Artemis IV Fire Control System to allow for greater missile accuracy.

* Alt. Config. C - A long range configuration of the Timber Wolf, the C configuration carries an assortment of long range weapons. For direct fire capabilities, the Timber Wolf C mounts two ER Large Lasers and an Ultra Autocannon/5. For indirect fire support capability, its two LRM-15 launchers provide an ample quantity of firepower. Finally, for close range protection, the C carries an ER Medium Laser and an Anti-Missile System.

* Alt. Config. D - This configuration mounts a pair of ER PPCs as its primary weapons. These are supported by four Streak SRM-6 launchers with two in the left torso and two in the right torso. One Streak SRM-6 on both torsos is rear mounted. A single ER Small Laser rounds out the Timber Wolf D's arsenal.

* Alt. Config. E - Configured to use the added flexibility of the new Advanced Tactical Missile system, the E configuration mounts two ER Large Lasers as its primary direct fire weapons. The E Configuration also carries two ATM 9 launchers which can fire ammunition that is tailored to the ranges which it is engaging the enemy at. Finally, the E configuration carries a Light TAG designator for calling in Arrow IV artillery fire.

* Alt. Config. H - A configuration that is capable of engaging an enemy with devastating effect at any range, the H configuration carries a pair of LRM-20 launchers linked to an Artemis IV Fire Control System for long range firepower. For close combat, two Heavy Large Lasers are carried, each of which can strip a full ton of armor from an enemy 'Mech at short ranges. Finally, seemingly added almost as an afterthought, an ER Small Laser completes the H's weaponry loadout.

* Alt. Config. S - A highly maneuverable urban combat configuration of the Timber Wolf, the S mounts five jump jets, allowing it to jump up to one hundred and fifty meters. To offset the inaccuracy from using jump jets, the S configuration is armed with a Large Pulse Laser backed up by two Medium Pulse Lasers. The S configuration also carries four SRM-6 launchers and two Machine Guns, making it a deadly close combat fighter.

Saffron's Analysis:  
When you think Clan Battlemech, chances are the Mad Cat is the first one you think of.  While the Lights and Mediums are nice, and the Assaults are downright terrifying.  The reason the Clanners were so successful with their invasion are the strength of their Heavies.  And of all the heavies, the Mad Cat stands at the top.  Speed of a Medium with the Firepower and Armor of an Assault mech. 

This mech is near perfection on the battlefield.  In the arena it can take down any opposing mech.

Rating: 9.5 of 10

Tech Readout:

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