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This is an overview article which contains background information and cross-game comparisons. For game-specific information and stats, see the articles linked on the right.
Gameplay articles
Fallout 3Fat Man
Experimental MIRV
Fallout: New VegasFat Man
Esther Gametitle-FNV GRA
Fat Man (GRA) Gametitle-FNV GRA
Fallout 4Fat Man
Big Boy
The Striker Gametitle-FO4 FH
Nuka-nuke launcher Gametitle-FO4 NW
Fallout 76Fat Man
MIRV launcher
Fallout ShelterFat Man
Fallout: The Board GameFat Man
Gametitle-FO3Gametitle-FNVGametitle-FNV GRAGametitle-FO4Gametitle-FO76Gametitle-FOS
Gametitle-FO3Gametitle-FNVGametitle-FNV GRAGametitle-FO4Gametitle-FO76Gametitle-FOSGametitle-FBG

The Fat Man, officially designated the M-42 Tactical Nuclear Catapult, is a weapon which appears in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Fallout 76, Fallout Shelter and Fallout: The Board Game.


The Fat Man was conceived, developed and tested inside the Fort Strong armory in Boston. The barracks were leveled and several houses were constructed around the fort to provide a testing area, to better ascertain how much damage the weapon would cause in an urban environment.

In June 2075, General Brock, the commanding officer at the fort, was placed in charge of developing the M-42 launcher and testing the newly-minted T-51b power armor, and dedicated half of his team to each project. The team in charge of the launcher first attempted to lower the weight of the warhead, and later tried to increase the power behind the firing mechanism, but both designs failed to produce satisfactory results. In both scenarios, the explosions were far too close to the soldiers firing the launcher, either killing them in the blast or soaking them in lethal levels of radiation.

After almost two years, and the loss of a testing squad due to a misfiring weapon, the engineers behind the project built a fusion sub-charge into each warhead, greatly increasing the launcher's range, and the design proved successful. In September 2077, the launchers were shipped from the fort to a supply yard in Mississippi, and from there to the Chinese front.


Fat ManEdit

Fat Man

The M42 Fat Man is an effective mortar/artillery weapon, allowing a person to bombard a large area with good precision and deadly force. It uses a mini nuke for ammunition which when fired, results in a small nuclear blast.

Experimental MIRVEdit

Fat Man
Gameplay articles: Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Fallout 76

Although highly similar to the Fat Man, the experimental MIRV fires 8 mini nukes at once instead of 1, making it more powerful and with a bigger blast radius, at the cost of losing 8 mini nukes at once.


Gameplay article: Gun Runners' Arsenal

Esther is a unique Fat Man with a different rear mechanism, a blast shield, a light-blue body, and a thick glass or plastic bed holding the mini nukes. It weighs 10 pounds more than a standard Fat Man, but does not jam, and is more powerful.

The StrikerEdit

The Striker
Gameplay article: Far Harbor

The Striker was made by the employees of Beaver Creek Lanes for Thomas Davis, a former league champion that became handicapped after a battle injury. The Striker was meant to serve as a tool for Davis to launch bowling balls even though he had lost use his legs. It doesn't launch nukes but modified bowling balls.

Nuka-nuke launcherEdit

FO4NW Nuka-Nuke launcher
Gameplay article: Nuka-World

This unique Fat Man was hidden by John-Caleb Bradberton, the inventor of Nuka-Cola in Nuka-World. Instead of regular mini nukes it launches Nuka-nukes, a specially modified, quantum-enhanced version with increased explosive power.

Behind the scenesEdit

The Fat Man was named after the atomic bomb which the United States dropped over Nagasaki in 1945. To avoid controversy, it was renamed Nuka Launcher in the game's Japanese version.

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