THE PN-11B PHAINON
Allegedly referred to by the great Aleksandr Kerensky as “the SLDF’s worst SRM carrier,” the 35 ton PN-11b Phainon debuted in 2762 as the first (and only) ‘Mech ever produced by Bartwright Industries.
In a sea of ‘Mechs and military contracts, the Phainon was just one of many experimental BattleMechs to be tested in limited theater engagements during the twilight years of the SLDF. Originally designed for urban engagements and hit-and-fade tactics, the PN-11b Phainon carries three Holly-4 SRM launchers, one in each arm and one in the center torso, with a core capable of pushing the ‘Mech up to a top speed of 92kph. The original technical literature describes the Phainon as a brawler, though the 7.5 tons of standard armor protecting it would seem to refute this. It isn’t a ‘Mech completely without merit, though. Some have even called it a poor man’s Hunchback, or a hunchfront, but whether it was loved or reviled by the MechWarriors who piloted it, one thing is certain, it never really got a fair chance to prove itself.
Extant records of Bartwright Industries seem to indicate that the company may have been preparing to file for bankruptcy when their one and only factory on Atria V was bombed into oblivion at the dawn of the First Succession War. Founder and CEO Marvin T. Bartwright was presumed to have been on site when his factory was reduced to ash, and no records exist to attest to his survival beyond that date. The few Phainon ‘Mechs in the field were almost completely lost to the opening salvos of the First Succession War, and even ComStar, with its extensive records, had nothing but rumors on the ‘Mech. It was only upon discovery of a previously unknown Brian Cache by Clan Sea Fox in 3122 at the very edge of the Inner Sphere (presumably one of the first caches dumped by Kerensky) that the Phainon was rediscovered and subsequently returned to service, albeit as a IIC upgraded model.
The PN-11b Phainon saw few engagements during its short service life, and it is assumed that most of these units were lost when Bartwright's claims that the Phainon was a "scrappy brawler" were put to the test on the front lines. Bartwright’s goal was to provide the SLDF with a strong alternative to the UrbanMech, but at 2,930,310 c-bills, the Phainon was a hard sell to investors who had already filled their ranks with the near ubiquitous urbies. In one final attempt to win a series of juicy defense contracts, CEO Marvin T. Bartwright arranged a mock battle between an UM-R60 UrbanMech and a PN-11b Phainon in the dense urban ruins of an abandoned city, only to see the Phainon take a critical gyro hit with the first volley of autocannon fire. The Phainon subsequently faceplanted into the ruins of a skyscraper, got the missile racks on its hands tangled up in the support structure and struggled to free itself while the UrbanMech steadily removed its back armor and cored it in full view of a cadre of thoroughly unimpressed potential investors. Bartwright himself allegedly flew into a rage over the display, screaming and throwing a bottle of champagne across the room, accidentally hitting and injuring an investor in his anger. It was only later, in the official report (and apology letter) that he blamed the PN-11b’s performance on pilot error.
Besides the few apocryphal variants of the ‘Mech which may (or may not) have existed while the few remaining Phainons were being converted into periphery frankenmechs, there are unsubstantiated rumors that the Jihad may have seen the brief appearance of a Blakist refit that exchanged the Phainon's standard armor for ferro-fibrous in order to free up the tonnage needed to integrate a C3 computer.
The most radical variation on the Phainon is, of course, the Sea Fox IIC refit. The Phainon IIC pulls out all the stops and is very nearly a complete overhaul of the original design. Nearly tripling the cost of the Phainon (at a 6,551,460 price tag) the IIC variant upgrades the design with Clan Endo Steel, Ferro-Fibrous armor, double heat sinks and an Extralight Engine. Though a reduction in armor tonnage gives the Phainon IIC about the same protection as the PN-11b, the speed and punch of this ‘Mech are vastly increased. As a result of this overhaul, the Phainon IIC boasts a top speed of 127kph and hits with four SEP Class Four racks on each arm for a total of thirty-two missiles with every volley (and it can drop about seven volleys before the racks run dry.)
Phainon IIC Sea Fox Configuration
Records recently recovered by historians with Clan Sea Fox point to only a single battle of note where the original Phainon was used to any effectiveness. MechWarrior Gerald Falstaff of the Rim Worlds Republic, a man as fat as he was duplicitous, stole a PN-11b Phainon during the Amaris Coup and attempted to stand toe-to-toe with a Black Watch Highlander. Though he (allegedly) managed to slow down the Highlander (and even rammed it when the arms of his Phainon were ripped off) his ‘Mech was no match for the superior machine. It is assumed that MechWarrior Falstaff was killed in the subsequent nuclear obliteration that followed.
The Phainon IIC's use in the modern era is sparse, but well-documented. Generally deployed as a second-line garrison unit by Clan Sea Fox, it serves well as a pricey support unit to the UrbanMech IIC. MechWarrior Valerie Batola of Lindon's Battalion has also reportedly made effective use of a Phainon IIC as a hit-and-fade urban fighter, as well as a supplement to the high-speed strike tactics that her mercenary unit is known for.
Word of Blake Phainon Pilot (Dramatization: May Not Have Happened)
WHAT IS THIS?
Sometimes I make custom ‘Mechs for Battletech for fun, and sometimes I do little in-universe writeups for them. Not only did I make a backstory for this one, I also made record sheets and miniatures which you can find on Thingiverse here. It’s all free to print on your 3D printer at home.
I don’t own anything Battletech, but I do enjoy the universe a lot. This is my little fan contribution to the community. I hope you enjoy!
Record sheets follow: