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Mook Mobile

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"No shields. No ejection seat. TIE Fighters were disposable attack vehicles for disposable pilots, and Wedge never cared to feel disposable."

In contrast to the Ace Custom and Super Prototype, the Mook Mobile is the standard craft designated for Mooks and Red Shirts to drive around and get blown up in. May be equipped with basic armaments and little in terms of protection. The hero or heroes may talk them up for dramatic purposes, but when engaged in actual combat, the Mook Mobiles die like flies. People may wonder if they're made out of cardboard and intentionally designed to kill the occupant inside without damage to the hero. But at least they're cheap to make!

Will usually be the opposite of a Cool Ship. When one of these puts up a decent performance, it's probably because someone with actual decent piloting skill is behind the wheel, or perhaps Conservation of Ninjutsu is in effect.

Compare Mecha-Mooks.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted with Armored Trooper VOTOMS. The Mook Mobiles are the only units there are. The Scopedog is the most common, and the unit of choice for the protagonist but other factions have their own mass-produced AT. None are really better than the others. Even the Super Prototype units are simply Scopedogs with increased handling and special weapons.
  • Lesser model Knightmare Frames in Code Geass. Especially the Britannian Empire's poor, much-abused RPI-13 Sutherland.
  • Played with in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. Machine Calibers like the protagonist's are mass-produced, disposable machines that fit this trope. Their abilities as seen from a modern perspective are incredible, but this level of technology is average among the Galactic Alliance, and many hundreds of them are annihilated in short order by their enemies the Hideauze. However, when he winds up on a much less technologically advanced planet (Earth), his Machine Caliber is so much more advanced than anything else that it's an unstoppable superweapon.
  • Gundam has plenty of mook mobiles and mechas in all of its incarnations. Note that with most of these they were state of the art and the most advanced weapons around when they were invented, but then somebody had to go and invent Gundams.
    • The Zaku in in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the GINN in Gundam SEED and really just about any Mobile Suit that isn't a Gundam in the first season of Gundam 00. The name "Zaku" is also derived from the Japanese term "Zako" note , in which the term means "expendable grunts".
    • The Federation's mass-produced Mobile Suit, the GM. Canonically, the GM's performance is not much worse than that of the Gundam it was developed from, and it helped the Federation turn the tide of the One Year War; on-screen, Conservation of Ninjutsu dictates that in the same way that Zakus exist to get blown up by Gundams, GMs exist to get blown up by every other Zeon mobile weapon.
    • The Federation's other mass-produced mobile weapon, the Ball, lacks the grace to be humanoid or even humongous, simply being a lightly-armored sphere with two small arms and a long, unwieldy cannon attached to its top. The cannon was not in the initial design; the Ball's original purpose was as a compact mobile worker in zero-G environments, but when the Federation found itself overwhelmed by Zeon's Mobile Suits in space, they hastily bolted guns to the Balls and sent them out as cheap cannon fodder to harass Zeon ships and mobile weapons en masse. The only reason it doesn't get blown up in comparable numbers to the GM and its successors is that it mostly stops appearing after the original series.
    • Gundam Wing starts off in a similar vein, though better mobile suits are introduced as the series goes on. The Leo, defenseless against the Gundams at the start of the show are defenseless against all other mobile suits at the end, although they still got used.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Gjallarhorn's standard mobile suits are the Graze in the first season and its successor the Reginlaze in the second. Neither is especially powerful, but Gjallarhorn monopolized Ahab reactors production, so they're the only suits deployed in large numbers. Everyone else has to use at least partially-salvaged suits or Mobile Workers.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury has the suits produced by Burion, particularly the Demi series. The main one seen in the series is the Demi Trainer, which is meant to be a cheap, mass-produced affair retrofitted for use as a "training" suit: that is to say, it's given to military academies like the one in the series so that their students can have something to pilot. The Demi Garrison, the version fitted for actual combat, is used for security and police action, and has a pretty poor record in that role. One of the main characters, Chuchu, spends most of the series in a visibly outdated Ace Custom of a Demi Trainer, and is shown to be horribly outmatched in battle with more militarized hardware despite being a very good pilot. That said, the Demi Barding, currently only in the prototype stage, is shown to be far more up to snuff.
  • Macross: Both subverted and played straight in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The VF-1 Valkyries of the original series are differentiated only in the number of laser guns mounted on the head (one for the common "Brownie" VF-1A fighter, two for the squadron leader model VF-1J and four for the CAG-exclusive VF-1S) but otherwise perform identically. Played with for the Zentraedi Esbelien Regult tactical battle pod, which has inferior performance to the Roycommi Glaug officer pod but is quite dangerous to even elite Valkyrie pilots. Played painfully straight with the UN Spacy's Destroid mecha, which are, um, destroyed with ease by the enemy and primarily exist for the VF-1s to swoop in and save them.
  • The Brocken military mechs in Patlabor, hired as security forces for various unscrupulous corporations and usually destroyed en masse by the good guys. They're really no better or worse than any of the other mechs in the setting besides the cutting-edge Ingrams the heroes use, though. It wasn't always this way: in the original manga and the first OAV, the Brocken is a nearly unstoppable top-of-the-line military machine that can take on the entire SVU with just one unit. In the TV series, however, Conservation of Ninjutsu sets in, and they're stuck playing backup dancer to ridiculous, gimmicky borderline-Super Robots like the Phantom. To their credit, they still vastly outperform any civilian Labors and always manage to inflict impressive levels of damage on the Ingrams before finally being brought down.
  • During the REDLINE race in Roboworld. It's military deploy these to try and dispose of the racers thanks to them trespassing. Which includes but are not limited to mechs and special Cool Bikes called sand bikes.
  • The Grappal from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Mauve Shirts Gimmy and Darry try their best to fight with them, but they can never live up to real Ganmen especially when the Anti-Spirals show up, as the Ganmen were designed specifically to fight them and the Grappals were not. Also a bit unusual in that they're hero Mook Mobiles. Of course, the Ganmen not operated by humans or Beastmen Generals quickly went from Monster of the Week to Mook Mobiles.
  • UFO Robo Grendizer: Besides the very dangerous Saucer Beasts and Vega Beasts, the mainstay of Vega's fleet to attack Earth are swarms of mini-ufos. Those are a threat to the lower-tech Terran forces, but not so much for the eponymous giant robot. Despite the massive size difference, the Spazer (Grendizer combined with its spaceship) can easily compete in maneuverability with the mini-ufos, and even when attempting to overwhelm it with their numbers, Grendizer destroys them in drove thanks to its numerous, superior weapons.
  • In Ulysses 31, the Greek Gods uses swarms of trident-shaped fighter crafts (naturally called "Tridents"), launched from floating bases looking like tomato grapes. It's not entirely clear whether Tridents are robot ships or maned by Shark Men at all times. Although they're easily dispatched by Ulysses and co. in any dogfight, Tridents have quite the firepower and can easily cripple the Odysseus if caught off-guard with its shield down.

    Comic Books 
  • Villain organizations in Marvel Comics such as Hydra, AIM, and the Secret Empire all drive around on various hovercrafts, only to get shot down en masse by the heroes.
  • A car variation exists in Sin City in which bad guys often drive around in modern cars, which are shown to be ineffective against the vintage V8 engine-loaded cars the heroes usually have.
  • Happens in the IDW Publishing run of The Transformers Megaseries, where a cabal of humans are working with Scorponok to develop Headmaster technology. To do this, the Machination captures and copies the Autobot Sunstreaker, then modify themselves to transform into heads for these clones so they can effectively be equals to Cybertronians. This leads to the incongruous scenario of an army of Mook Mobiles consisting of nothing but brightly-colored Lamborghinis.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers: The Chitauri's only vehicles, besides the Leviathans (which are unarmed transports), are small flying speeder craft referred to as "space chariots" by the art book. They're quite slow (around as fast as World War I era biplanes), totally unarmored, open-topped, and armed only with a single semi-automatic Plasma Cannon Grenade Launcher on the nose. The Avengers waste them en masse. They're also Made of Explodium, as Hawkeye blows up a group of them just by spraying them with a GAU-17/A 7.62mm minigun. In fact, even in his lightly armed transport VTOL, Hawkeye is blasting them out of the sky with ease and only has trouble when Loki personally intervenes. Even after his VTOL gets wrecked, he proceeds to destroy several of them with a bow and arrow.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Necrocraft fighters used by Ronan's forces. Equipped with a single weak plasma gun (similar to the Chitauri aircraft) and nothing else, to the point that Ronan sees it as completely viable to have them kamikaze themselves into the ground to get more use out of them (note that, even when they launch their entire mass at the ground and explode, the effects are anemic — civilians a few meters from the impact site are unaffected, when even a bog standard 155mm artillery shell would kill everyone in that distance). They're also quite fragile, with no shields and paper armor, easily pierced by small arms and torn apart by two mining pods ramming into them. The Ravager ships and Nova Corps fighters easily plow down through them, and it's only through sheer number they have any advantage. One of them also explodes from falling two meters. The Nova Corps and Ravager craft themselves are also rather bad, being no faster than the Necrocraft and nearly as fragile, but at least the latter have some armor and carry a few autocannons.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has the Sovereign drone fighters, which are even crappier. Not only are they not able to out-fly the Milano, which is explicitly subsonic according to the numbers Gamora calls out during the first chase sequence, but their weapons are so weak that concentrated fire from half a hundred of them doesn't even break the Milano's window (note that crashing through a few trees cripples that same ship). Drax shoots down one of them with a rifle, even, and Ego utterly annihilates dozens of them on foot.
    • Captain Marvel: The Kree fighters have all the problems of prior MCU fighters, but the film also introduces what seem to be the main warships of the Kree. They're completely unarmed outside of eight large missiles per ship which are too fragile and slow to use as anything other than orbital bombardment weapons, and their armor is penetrable by autocannon fire (though so was the Dark Aster's in the first GOTG film, so this is hardly surprising). Their sole defense is deploying some of the aforementioned terrible fighters. At the end of the movie the titular hero literally just flies through them without slowing down.
  • Star Wars:
    • Perhaps the Ur-Example is the above-mentioned TIE Fighter. Supposedly one of the "symbols of the Empire", the TIE Fighter is really only seen being successful during the first (er, fourth?) movie, during the famous Death Star trench run. Other than that, it exists solely to inflate Rogue Squadron's kill count. Two simple lasers, no shields, no air, and leaving the pilot completely screwed in the face of real competition, the TIE Fighter is always seen in pushover swarms — the best you can say about it is that it's more maneuverable and faster in space than an X-Wing. The disparity was largely based on the Japanese Zero vs. the American F4F and F6Fs which were less maneuverable but much better armored such that their pilot were more likely to survive repeated combat. Ironically, it's implied that it's based on the design of the Eta-2 Actis, a starfighter mostly used by Jedi and with similar characteristics (no armament aside from basic lasers, no shielding, minimal armor and sensors, high maneuverability and speed). As it turned out, the characteristics that made the TIE fighter so notoriously weak were the same ones that made the Actis successful; it being a Fragile Speedster didn't matter when its pilots were precognitive and could simply dodge everything.
    • Quite terrifyingly, in the old canon it was actually a downgrade: the first operative model, fielded in the last days of the Clone Wars, had (weak) shields and even missiles... But when the Empire switched to the TIE/LN they demanded the removal of the shields, the missiles, most sensors, and even the ejection seat (though that was quickly reinstated) to spare weight.
    • Elsewhere in canon we have the Sith Empire's Mark 6 interceptors in Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic, who would actually be surprisingly effective were it not for Artificial Stupidity in both cases forcing the fighters to use braindead tactics that permit them to be easily downed in hordes by their more heroic foes.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic also introduces the Aurek starfighter, an unusual example of the good guys using swarms of "expendable" starfighters.

  • X-Wing Series:
    • The series elaborates on this, as seen in the page quote. The lack of shields, missiles, life support, hyperdrive, etc. makes Imperial TIE Fighters faster and more maneuverable than the Rebels/New Republics' X-Wings, and in a skilled pilot's hands even the humble TIE Fighter can be a lethal opponent. The problem for Imperial New Meat is surviving that long, as one mistake with their craft is often fatal, while Rebel pilots' shields give them a much greater opportunity to survive and learn from their errors. (Like many aspects of the TIE Fighter, this is based on the Japanese Zero — early in the war, it was in the hands of experienced pilots and a terror for American pilots, but its fragility meant that a few years into the war, most of the Zero aces had been killed, and new pilots had no room for error.)
    • The improved successor to the TIE Fighter, the TIE Interceptor, has quad lasers and is even faster and more maneuverable than its predecessor, putting it on even footing with an X-Wing and prompting the Rebels to develop the A-Wing in response. But even Imperial starfighter developers realized the advantages shields offered, and put them on the later TIE Advanced/Avenger and TIE Defender — unfortunately this made the advanced models prohibitively expensive at about the time that the Empire began losing ground to the New Republic, so that TIE Fighters and TIE Interceptors continued to be a mainstay of Imperial fighter groups.
    • Pirates, smugglers, and other fringe groups may resort to mix-and-matching starfighter parts to cobble together something flyable, to mixed results. One of the most notorious of these "Uglies" takes a TIE Fighter's ball cockpit and twin lasers, and welds on the engines of a Y-Wing bomber. The resulting "TYE-Wing" combines the Imperial Mook Mobile's lack of shields and puny weaponry with the sluggishness of the Rebels' oldest bomber, so that it's also known as a "Die-Wing" or "Why-Wing". Their main contribution in combat is making opposing pilots feel sorry about vaping them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has the Raider starfighter, the Delta-V Zephyr. Side material explains that it originated as a joint project between EarthForce and the Belt Alliance (a large shipping union that also fields a paramilitary force to defend itself from Raiders) right after first contact as a space-atmospheric capable fighter, but after they both moved to improved models and (for EarthForce) the Starfury line the existing Delta-V fighters and production rights were sold off to technologically inferior race-who would start selling them on the black market to make some cash, resulting in the Delta V becoming the trademark fighter of the Raiders it was originally designed to fight and being destroyed in droves by the Starfuries.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • The Cylon fighters in the original 1970's Battlestar Galactica. The ships aren't very maneuverable compared to the Colonial Vipers, and it doesn't help that the Centurions are such poor pilots or that they pilote in a comitate of three.
    • On the other hand, the Cylon fighters in the reboot series are a hybridization of this trope with Mecha-Mooks. The fighters have no pilots, being semi-sentient machines, made out of a combination of synthetic and organic parts — more like highly complex animals than ships. But in terms of battles, mooks they most definitely are, being used as fodder (if highly dangerous fodder) by their more advanced Cylon brethren. In fact, the only one time they go off orders, they get mass-lobotomized.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Goa'uld death gliders. In the movie and the first half of Stargate SG-1, they subvert the trope in that they are a serious threat to ground-bound SG teams (never mind bystanders), against which the only defense (other than running away) is a shoulder-fired missile or grenade launcher (not exactly something they carry around at all times). Once it enters service, the Tau'ri F-302 quickly proves itself far superior to the glider, which is built in line with the typical Goa'uld design philosophy.
    • The Wraith Darts in Stargate Atlantis. Their Organic Technology makes them even more fragile than Death Gliders — they can be downed by sustained machine-gun fire, if you manage to hit them. The Atlantis Expedition's Railguns are especially deadly against Dart swarms. This wasn't such a problem for the Wraiths before, since they made sure no humans in the Pegasus Galaxy ever reached a technological level where they could become a threat. Their main advantages are their small size (allowing Darts to fly through Stargates) and speed. They can still be very dangerous since the Wraiths deploy them en masse, and they also have no qualms against making kamikaze attacks if things go sour.
  • Star Trek has several craft that could qualify, especially smaller craft — the Klingon Bird of Prey, the Dominion Fighter, and the Maquis Raider pretty much embody this trope.
  • Early villain groups in Super Sentai typically made use of these. Usually they'd be sent out to attack the Sentai team whenever they brought forth their Humongous Mecha. Super Sentai has its own page.
  • A frequent sight in Tokusatsu shows, particularly from the '80s and '90s. This was a way of using Stock Footage to its fullest extent — often times they'd have what amounts to the same aerial battle every episode, and not much would change. VR Troopers (which drew footage from three different shows) was notorious in this regard. As the new millennium dawned, these sorts of vehicles and their associated battles became rarer, though nowadays with modern CGI instead of models, the battles are a lot less limited.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has lots of this trope.
    • First off are the Stinger and Wasp Battlemechs, which are nearly identical to each other: both are 20 tons, both move at about the same speed, and they have roughly the same armament- a single medium laser and something else (usually a couple of anti-personnel weapons like machine guns or small lasers) in most configurations. Because they're at the very bottom of the mech weight category, they're also poorly armored. Thus whenever they get into a fight with pretty much any other mech they have a tendency to die. They're usually used in groups.
    • The slightly larger Spider has a similar reputation, being noted for high manoueverability but poor armour even for its weight class and arguably even worse armament than the previous examples: Two medium lasers, which is still barely enough to inflict worthwhile damage on anything bigger than itself, and no support weaponry that could at least be useful in Urban Warfare. It also has a deserved reputation as a death trap: while every 'mech, even the smallest, will have an ejection seat, the Spider doesn't. For a pilot to escape the 'mech, they have to disconnect from the 'mech entirely, get out of their cockpit chair, and then climb beneath the 'mech to get to the escape hatch. Most Spider pilots recognize that when they take critical damage, they're just dead.
    • Subverted by the infamous Urbanmech, which is something of a memetic Scrappy Weapon in-universe and out, as its unusually heavy armour for its weight class ends up being more hindrance than help by cutting into its top speed while still not being strong enough to stand up to more than one or two extra hits. However, it carries an Autocannon that's usually the main weapon of mechs twice its size, making the humble "Urbie" surprisingly lethal in the hands of a player who learns to play to its strengths.
    • The Scorpion tank is also regularly used like this, being cheap and lacking in power so deploying it in large numbers and accepting that you're going to finish the battle with a lot less Scorpions than you started with is a given.

  • 30 Minutes Missions has the EXAMACS (Extended Armament & Module Assemble & Combine System), a type of mass-produced mecha unit with modular and interchangeable parts, allowing them to adapt to various environments and situations easily. The major selling point of the series is that you can easily build an army of mass-produced grunt units, taking 30 minutes or less per unit if you skip the panel lining and painting.

    Video Games 
  • The various basic tanks in Command & Conquer — the Titan, Predator, or Tick tank, Grizzly, Rhino or Anvil, Crusader, Battlemaster or Scorpion — all get chewed up by the larger, far more powerful superheavy tanks and epic units. On the other hand, fielded early enough and in sufficient numbers, some of these tanks are pretty effective.
  • In Freelancer, the Startracker is this. Sure, it's actually a little tougher than the Starflier that Trent starts with, but it's a lightly armed, lightly armored fighter that steers like a tranquilized cow, something that a Fragile Speedster-class light vessel can't afford. You'll find that they're flown by a fair number of rogue groups, but the pilots are about as lousy as their ships. Seeing a hostile Startracker is basically a chance to score free shield and armor power-ups.
  • The PVF Anubis from the first FreeSpace game is one of the most pathetic space sim fighters of all time. Paper thin armor, no afterburners (making it so slow it can easily be run down by a GTF Hercules), crappy guns, and general inadequacy make the Anubis totally outmatched against any Terran or Shivan fighter. There's a reason it's one of the few ships to not appear in the sequel.
  • Every Covenant ground vehicle in Halo, with the Ghost, Wraith and Banshee being the most common. If you're on foot with only an assault rifle, they can be deadly (especially in the first game, which had no boarding). But once you get a vehicle of your own, they're often doomed by Artificial Stupidity and weak weaponry; the Wraiths are the only ones with weaponry that can consistently damage your Scorpion tank, and their projectiles tend to be slow and easy to dodge. Standout examples are "Metropolis" in Halo 2 where you take a tank down a highway and destroy about 20 Ghosts along with several Wraiths and Banshees in a row, "Tsavo Highway" in Halo 3 where you take on almost two dozen Choppers and Prowlers around a highway overpass, and the air battle in 3's "The Covenant" where you alone in a Hornet can single-handedly destroy a swarm of Banshees with ease. That said, Covenant vehicles are quite deadly in multiplayer if they have a competent pilot.
  • Iron Marines has the Raad Carriers which the enemy Raad can pilot. On their own, they're harmless. However, when a Raad moves near them, they will pilot it, and the Elemental Powers of the Raad determines the type of power the Carrier will have. Ion Troopers pilot Ionic Carriers that have a powerful, long-ranged but interruptible lightning beam. Pyron Guards pilot Pyre Carriers with a close-ranged flamethrower that sets units on fire. Geon Enforcers pilot Grav Carriers that drop a Damage Over Time Area of Effect gravity well. Finally, Tachyon Elites pilot Quantum Carriers that shoot small laser blasts as well as Quantum Balls that deal massive damage in their path before exploding for even more massive damage.
  • The Space Pirate APCs in Metroid are more durable and maneuverable than the pirates they carry, but Samus can still shoot them down on foot even without most of her suit's capabilities and the only real distinction between their weapons versus those the pirates carry themselves is a somewhat higher rate of fire. The Pirate Skiffs are pure mook mobiles, serving only to move pirates faster and having no protection.
  • The Super Robot Wars games have a few iconic bots of their own, in addition to many of the anime examples listed above. In the Original Generation games, the Gespenst series is the initial standard-issue grunt mech, though it is swiftly replaced by the mass-produced Huckebein mk.II (essentially a GM) by Original Generation 2. Mind you, in these games even a regular grunt unit can be pretty badass in the right hands, as Major Kai Kitamura demonstrates here and here. The closest to the trope is probably the DC-built Lion series: having been developed from the F-32 Schwert fighter jet, the base Lion rather resembles a vaguely-humanoid fighter jet with stumpy limbs and a railgun serving as one arm. While actually packing a decent edge when first deployed (they all have Tesla Drives which allow atmospheric flight, something most Gespenst variants lack), they are lightly-armored and equipped with only missile launchers and a single railgun, leaving them much easier to destroy than the EFA Gespensts. As a result, the Lion is a Fragile Speedster that can be initially threatening in large numbers but will be shot down in droves, with only extremely skilled aces managing to keep themselves alive (and often earning themselves new machines that make better use of their skills). Still, due to their cheap and easy production, they are used by every side and rebel faction, and they continue to appear in every game; even the EFA began using the ReLion and Heavy Barrelion variants as their primary forces by the events of Second Original Generations.

  • Girl Genius: A large portion of the Wulfenbach troops attacking Mechanicsburg are in Mini-Mecha and the castle and Mechanicsburgers decimate them.

    Western Animation 
  • Exo Squad: Every single vehicle both allied and enemy right up to massive capital ships which isn't one of the titular E-Frames.
  • Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers has the Racing Drones, Mecha-Mooks who drive hundreds of mass produced cars. Any that are lost in the realms are simply replaced by newly-produced units. And, save for Gelorum, they can also transform into part of their cars, namely the roofs.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • The Vehicons are both Mooks and Mook Mobiles. They actually put up a good fight at the beginning of the show, with two Vehicons trading blows evenly with two Autobots in the pilot episode, but Villain Decay sets in rapidly and by the end the heroes are blasting through dozens of them at a time.
    • The chartreuse faux-Corvettes of M.E.C.H. are a straighter example.


Video Example(s):


German Half-Track

Used as both an armored infantry transport and a mobile machine gun platform by the German Heer Infanterie, the Sd Kfz 251 is a versatile machine that should not be underestimated.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / AwesomePersonnelCarrier

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