Its an industrial mech (read: civilian work mech) and terribly ill suited for actual combat. It at least has military grade armor, or rather heavy industrial grade armor (which is the same as the basic military stuff), decent fire control, and an ejection seat (which will be used in the event of combat), but that's about it. Its built on a planet that's on the ass end of nowhere, and sold to anyone too poor for real battlemechs. As such, corporations, poorer planets/settlements and even some merc units have been buying them (in the latter case, for nothing more than base security, and possibly cheap mech-simulators) by the battalion load in the fluff. Good thing, as a company of the factory model is about the smallest effective unit size.
Ya see, that giant gun, yeah...its really a woefully obsolete heavy rifle. Basically its something like modern day 155mm howitzer. Sure weapons that are 1000+ years old can still kill you today, and that's more or less what a heavy rifle is like in the CBT universe. Obsolete beyond description. The world where the Arbiter is manufactured is capable of nothing better weapon wise. To help though, the doctered it up to look big and scary (yes literally) in hopes of scaring off raiding pirates. Just hope the poor bastard piloting this thing never has to fire as the secret will be out that the weapon is garbage, and the arbiter (and all others) will be toast.
Speaking of toast, the rifle generates so much heat that it realistically can only fire once every 3 game turns or so as it has only one heat sink and can't cope with the rifle's heat build up. So going back to company deployments, one lance fires one turn, and then rinse and repeat till the first lance can fire again. Just hope the enemy isn't returning fire, or realizing that the incoming fire isn't doing a whole lot to them...
Anyone who buys one, can afford to, and/or has the know how and equipment needed, swaps out the rifle for an AC-5. This 'upgrade' eliminates the heat issue as well as the Arbiter's woeful lack of ammo (which is somewhat mitigated by the heat issue). The Arbiter's rifle has room for just 6 rounds, whereas the AC-5's ammo can fit 20 rounds into the same amount of space. You can tell it was designed for the AC-5, but as stated above, the planet of manufacture can't build modern weaponry. Of course its laughable to think that in the 3060s, the standard AC-5 is something of a 'premium' upgrade for...well, anything!
So essentialy the Arbiter is the typical piss-poor-podunk's mech-substitute of choice. Given my love of infantry which generally fits into the same category, I really want some of these. Unfortunatlely its mainly a fluff design, and odds are it won't ever see production. Though why other even more useless and less popular industrial mechs are in production is unknown to me (the Cattlemaster, really?). The Arbiter is actually in the same 'It's so bad I love it!' category as the Urbanmech, and on various forums is quite popular. Ironically, it also makes the Urbanmech look awesome by comparison.
|WTF? A PROXY!?!|
So not having a mini available, I painted up a Heavy Gear Hunter with a snub cannon to use as a proxy. The cannon is painted to look obvious from distance, but otherwise that mini lacks any of the aesthetic appeal of the actual Arbiter. Its painted in my favorite 'government issue green' (Knarloc green) which doesn't match my other HG minis, but I don't know if we'll ever play that game again, so is no matter. I have another one of these, so will probably paint it up to match. I have several hunters actually, but would need to get them some more snub cannons. Mainly as the AC-5 field refits, usually keep the over-sized housings so the enemy doesn't know what kind of gun its facing till it actually fires. Indeed, I've seen tons of custom versions built via Skunkwerks (Battletech's VDR software) which are basically wolves in sheep's clothing refits as it won't take long for pirates to figure out this 'mech' is absolute garbage.