Melta is a designation for a type of anti-armor weapon used widely by the forces of the Imperium and similarly by merit of being traitors, the forces of Chaos as well; the Tau, Eldar, Necrons, and even Tyranids also employ their own renditions of the concept. Think of infrared ovens IN SPACE, infused with extra RAGE, and shot out using a tremendous amount of infrared light to super-agitate the target, so that it heats up to the point where it's hot enough to melt itself away, whether they be Power Armor or Super-heavy Tank Armor.
The fundamental problem behind Melta-based weapons is that the super-high energy consumption and heat generation are used to explain its lack of range. In comparison to the equally useful Plasma-based weaponry, Meltas are much more potent in exchange for that shorter range, though Meltas also don't explode in your face on a bad roll, so that is certainly another benefit. On the gripping hand, Plasma weapons allow your troops to have some breathing room since they can be used at about medium range, so your troops won't always be at the risk of being caught in a vehicle's explosion, murdered in CQC, or ambushed by a nearby gun line after they fire off their guns in one turn. Though invariably biased towards tank hunting by superb armor penetration, Melta-based guns are also good weapons for all-around attack, defense, and infiltration; though it falls short in terms of range as mentioned. Infiltration with this can take vehicles out of the fight before they even have a chance to fire their weapon... and maybe that's how the Baneblades were lost?
Depictions of Melta weapons firing themselves have been spotty in the face of publications and vidya gaems. In several publications and Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Melta weapons fire a constant stream, like a laser-flame thrower. But in the Space Marine video game they fire a single rapid wave of energy in a manner that makes them essentially shotguns – Titus likely dispersed the beam so he could kill more Orks per shot as even Orks aren't dumb enough to drive tanks in extremely overbuilt urban zones – and the Dawn of War II series have Melta weapons firing a single blue/purple beam, while Dark Crusade uses discrete blobs of melt. In Eternal Crusade, they fire a limited-range, damage-over-time beam you have to keep on target, presumably in order to make them less effective as an anti-infantry weapon.
Imperial Melta WeaponsEdit
Although the Imperium has not been successful at making pistol-sized Melta for cheap, it is very successful in the case of miniaturizing a hydrogen bomb.
For millennia, the Adeptus Mechanicus had hypothesized that there was a Melta weapon with an even lesser range than the Meltagun, and sure enough, one day they found the Melta Bomb STC printout. Despite the tags, Melta Bombs are land mine-sized fusion charges used to destroy enemy vehicles and fortifications. Normally, Melta canisters come with a handle by the side of the cylinder. This Melta canister here has its handle by the end to facilitate throwing like a grenade. Because its shape is unlike a grenade, it is still pretty awkward to throw with, and the weight is probably not helping either. Because they have to be placed right next to the target to be satisfactorily effective, they are mostly given to assault units who get up close and personal with the enemy on a regular basis, which translates to better accuracy when throwing them, if not setting them up right where they should be. Back around ten thousand years ago, there were Melta Bombs which were quite smaller, at around the same size as a regular grenade. Whether there are differences between these two sizes of Melta Bombs is uncertain since there is no distinction in-between where stats are concerned. We may consider that the smaller version is simply compacted for easier carrying, and that both versions weigh about the same.
Only two units in a Space Marine army uses Melta Bombs, Assault Squads and Vanguard Veterans. Although alike in appearance, what the Armorium Cherub in the Devastator Squad is carrying is not a Melta Bomb, especially since Devastator Squads do not use it (and don't really have any reason to as well). The Armorium Cherub's purpose is to facilitate reloading, making that canister more likely to be fuel for Multi-Melta, rather than a Melta Bomb.
This microwave blowtorch is where the Imperium of Man's mass production capability reaches its limits in the Melta category.
Inferno Pistols are those rare Melta weapons where you only need one hand to fire out the heat. Where miniaturization is concerned, the Imperium has not sorted out the cost issue of this weapon just yet compared to other pistol-scaled weaponry such as the Bolt Pistol and the Hand Flamer. Notable users of these blowtorches are the Sisters of Battle and the Blood Angels, both of which having a pretty high affinity for burning stuff. The Blood Angels in particular seem to make their own in-house called the Infernus Pistol. Sanguinius used one in conjunction with his Power Sword for close combat, and his eldest living non-Dreadnought son to date, Dante, currently wields an Artificer Infernus Pistol known as Perdition Pistol. With their latest codex, the Inferno Pistol is now at home with the Blood Angels and available to a variety of their assault specialized units. Of course, the Inquisition and the Deathwatch have access to Inferno Pistols; specifically the Ordo Hereticus for the Inquisition, those big-hatted pastors love nothing more than the look on your face when they one-shot your (probably heretical) Leman Russ. The Deathwatch has a variant called a Conflagration Pistol, which is one of the coolest names in all of 40K. It trades some ammo capacity for anti-armor punch. Dudes who came from the Salamanders love it.
You may have thought right off the bat that the Gamma Pistol is a kind of Radium Weapon. Function-wise, however, it fits better as a Melta weapon.
Gamma Pistols are strange little weapons used by the Adeptus Mechanicus, particularly the higher Tech-Priests, specifically Cybernetica Datasmiths. This weapon beams out ionizing radiation that can turn people into "blackened shadow" in a second. Basically, it skips the burning part and goes straight to the ash part. Of course, this is not the true potential of the weapon. Those who know how to tame its savage Machine Spirit – essentially knowing how the weapon actually works – can even cut holes into fortifications. This little gun shoots out beams that can melt stuff. Clearly, it is a Melta. Irradiation Projectors, though a similar weapon that projects actual radiation out, is not the same as the Gamma Pistol since it does not have the capability to engage armor and fortifications as effectively as the case of Melta. The short range of this weapon can be explained beyond its pocket-size. If you recall your Physics class back at school, there are several kinds of electromagnetic radiation, three of which we are interested in have a particular quality. Gamma ray, x-ray, and the higher portion of ultraviolet are ionizing, whereas the rest of the spectrum are not. Obviously, Gamma Pistols use the eponymous shortest wavelength, the one with the most penetrating power that comes from radioactive decay.
Whether there are other two variants of this type remains to be seen, though compared to Gamma Pistol, names like "Extreme Ultraviolet Pistol" and "X-ray Pistol" do sound a bit off.
Contrary to the pistol variant, this size is a standard across the Imperium by the rule of thumb – if the Imperial Guard uses it, it is practically universal.
Meltaguns are distinctive by its cylindrical barrel with a number of either slits or holes depending on the model. Practically, there are two reasons to having holes on your gun barrel beyond cool-looking aesthetics. The holes allow high pressure gases to vent out when a bullet is fired, reducing the recoil by reducing the gas that will have kicked over to the back. A similar alternative to drilling holes is the muzzle brake which is attached by the front of the barrel. Considering the thickness of the barrel here, that of the Meltagun might just be a muzzlebrake, rather than the actual barrel. But since Meltaguns shoot out heat rays and not bullets, recoil shouldn't really be a problem. The second reason for those holes is rooted in insulation. The primary duty of a barrel shroud is to protect the user from touching the hot barrel. Those holes are there to keep a good airflow for that same barrel to cool down while being small enough that a finger will not slip through one. For a gun that shoots melting rays, it is obvious for its barrel to be insanely hot enough to warrant insulation. This is understandable since the user will probably want the heat ray to only come out of one end of the weapon, melting things that he wants to melt and not himself in the process. Whether you can take off that shroud and fire your Meltagun in a possibly spread pattern remains a speculation.
Aside from the Imperial Guard in Special Weapons Squads of three, Tactical Squads of the Space Marines may also take one. Sisters of Battle normally get two. If they happen to be Dominions, they can get up to four.
These are less of a distinct variant and more of a modification from the standard Meltaguns.
The Deathwatch Techmarine responsible for these modded heat guns was Enthor Calibos seconded from the Salamanders (how surprising). Once upon a time at Watch Fortress Erioch, he probably noticed that the Meltagun he was issued was not up to Salamanders pristine standard, and so he decided to modify them to his liking. Crafted in very limited numbers because this is just one Techmarine we're talking about, these compact, high-output Meltaguns have gained favor among those Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch lucky enough to have wielded them. They are probably the reason to Calibos making more Conflagration modifications apart from those of his own arsenal in the first place. Reflecting the fine workmanship and deep love for cleansing flame of their creator, these powerful weapons have higher penetration and damage output at the expense of increased energy consumption. Because he possibly was feeling generous by then, Calibos also modified the in-house Infernus Pistols. Like their larger siblings, these weapons trade increased power usage for higher penetration and damage yield. They are a favorite of many Space Marines from the Salamanders Chapter as well as any other who happens to be a pyromaniac on the side.
In the end, these Conflagration Meltas are simply just better Meltas with the standard higher (energy) cost for better quality exchange.
The Imperium has designed/found a Meltagun that fires at a decent range without sacrificing portability. The results? The usual.
The Beamer style of Meltagun was an attempt to create a longer-range Melta weapon that was still light enough to be easily carried into combat. Using fragments of decaying scrolls describing several ancient design patterns (and after much divination and prayer), the Zepherus Mark I "Beamer" Meltagun was developed. Though it still uses specialized gases melded and ignited into a sub-molecular thermal state like what a Melta should, this weapon features a longer barrel with a radiation beam surrounding the gaseous discharge. This low-level radiations acts as a harmonic wavefront for the super-hot release, allowing it to strike at longer distances. The necessary tuning for the beam to match the discharge proved impractical in the field, however, and only those willing (or able) to spend many hours of difficult correction after prolonged use still stand by the weapon – although given the sheer manpower of the Imperium, it shouldn't be out of place to assign some people exclusively for their maintenance. Almost no fighting units still utilize them despite the superior range, and their manufacture ceased after the first production run. On the other hand, there remains a possibility that the technical details for the Beamer Melta type have already circulated to several other Forge Worlds, continuing the legacy of this superior, albeit complex Meltagun under different aliases other than Zepherus Mark II.
Now prized as trophy weapons, some of these Zepherus still see use as part of elite mercenary groups or Inquisitorial Kill-teams.
Different from other commonly Heavy weapons such as the Heavy Bolter and the Heavy Flamer, the heavier version of the Meltagun is not called Heavy Melta.
The Multi-Melta is essentially two Meltaguns strapped together and supercharged. In game terms, this only doubles the (already sucky) range and makes it a heavy weapon. Due to the size and especially weight, Multi-Meltas are usually mounted on vehicles rather than carried. The Leman Russ Demolisher may have them mounted by the sponsons, while the Land Raider Crusader may mount one on its pintle; the weapon fits seamlessly with both vehicles' emphasis on short-range firepower. The Immolator may choose to replace its Twin-Linked Heavy Flamers or Twin-Linked Heavy Bolters with a Twin-Linked Multi-Melta. Due to its satisfactory effectiveness when arrayed against armor and monsters as well as the improved effective range, many other vehicles of the Imperium also have them mounted such as Razorbacks, Land Speeders, Dreadnoughts, and even on the sidecar of Attack Bikes. Because Multi-Meltas are so heavy, the Imperial Guard do not employ them without vehicles. By merit of wearing Power Armour, Space Marines and Sisters of Battle – emphasis on the Sisters of Battle – can afford to carry them around. Thallaxes in particular, being quite larger than Astartes, carry them around normally – that is, not bulky, and/or not with the universally cool chainsaw grip.
It is unknown whether efficiency for other Melta weapons can be improved in this manner. Imagine a really big cylinder filled with Meltaguns... Oh, wait a minute-
Yet another "better" Melta weapon available to the Deathwatch because it is the Deathwatch.
Created millennia ago as a field modification of a damaged Maxima-pattern Multi-Melta by another Deathwatch Techmarine whose identity has been forgotten, though his name is likely not Firestorm, these Multi-Meltas trade higher energy consumption and shorter range for an even higher damage yield and the ability to fire in short bursts – the former being merely an upgrade just like the Conflagration mods, and the latter likely the reason to the Firestorm title. Although modifications of this kind/extent are typically frowned upon by the Mechanicus, the Deathwatch Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch have received special dispensation to perform this operation on limited numbers of existing weapons, so there is at least an official approval unlike some other field modifications we know of. Firestorm Multi-Meltas have a chance of bursting out a number of charges left in the fuel canister, so it is less of an ability and more of that it just happens to, which isn't exactly what we can call the most reliable feature since it relies on randomness and/or the resident Machine Spirit. Perhaps there is supposed to be a firing pattern in order to trigger the burst fire, but the correct sequence had already been lost in the typical Imperium fashion.
Just like the Conflagration mods, the Firestorm is simply a better Multi-Melta used by Watch Fortress Erioch.
This is a weapon to choose when you want your Multi-Melta to be more precise, no matter the cost.
The Thermal Lance is a rare weapon, nearly as large as a standard Multi-Melta, though they both weigh about just the same. This one, however, fires a more accurate and directed heat beam using a much longer barrel with added directional containment beams to reduce dispersal, at the cost of lowered damage to the target compared to what the similarly-sized Multi-Melta can achieve. So what does this tell us about its appearance to imagine? The main barrel is explicitly stated to be longer, and that's definitely not something you see every day on a Meltagun. The presence of directional containment beams, which probably serve to do exactly what it says on the tin, likely suggests that there are additional smaller barrels which fire them. Since it's plural, we can be certain that there are at least two directional containment beams to keep the heat beam linearly together. Battlefield applications for the Thermal Lance is unknown, but for its pitiful range comparable to that of the Inferno Pistol, whatever that carries the weapon must be big and thrives in one-on-one close quarters combat. The big guy that carries this weapon is likely to be more of a "hunter" type since accurate beams allow for targeted strikes which isn't something you can just do with the regular, spread-out Meltagun.
All in all, the Thermal Lance is an alternative to a Multi-Melta for when what you want is a rifle (without the good range) and not a shotgun.
One of the perks for being at the upper end of the Mechanicum hierarchy is customized weaponry, and this is Cawl's.
Judging from its certainly baroque appearance, it is far from a perfume spray as its name suggests. By functionality, however, the Solar Atomiser does spray out something, and that thing ain't nice. Using a complex focusing array of his own design, this weapon concentrates thermic energy and Melta-waves into a short-ranged but utterly unstoppable blast that can melt through an enemy war engine in seconds; and he's not kidding when he said it's short-ranged. For a size way bigger than a Multi-Melta, its effective range is only at about what a normal Meltagun can do. But we all know how the electromagnetic spectrum goes – the closer it is to the shorter wavelength side, the scarier it is. Though the Solar Atomiser probably doesn't operate under the same principles as the Gamma Pistol used by Datasmiths... you get the idea. Another thing to note is the "Solar" prefix which may have something to do with more than sounding fancy. As stated, the weapon concentrates thermic energy and Melta-waves. The thermic energy in question might have something to do with the "Solar" part of the name. Should that be the case, then this thermic energy is likely Plasma in origin, which would explain the middle part of the weapon, and make the Solar Atomiser a holy combination of Plasma and Melta technology.
Being on the receiving end of a nuclear shaped charge combined with star-hot ionised gas probably isn't very nice.
Cyclonic Melta LanceEdit
Surprise, surprise, turns out there really is a big cylinder filled with Meltaguns, and people call it the Cyclonic Melta Lance.
This Tri-Linked Multi-Melta here is made just for the massive size of the Leviathan Pattern Siege Dreadnought, which is also be known to us as the Hulkbuster Pattern. These Dreadnoughts have a "Siege" tag behind there for a reason, and its array of weaponry must correspond as such. Now, in a siege, you are supposed to go up close to a fortified position where you'll probably be shot dead halfway through. Thankfully, the Leviathan is such a bulk that it most likely has more chances of making it through than a Rhino. With that part already cleared, your Leviathan will need something to breach through walls and bunkers. Six super blowtorches should be just enough to melt the living and non-living shit out of anything. Of course, since the weapon is comparatively bigger with triple the barrels, the Melta Lance is more destructive than your standard Multi-Melta. The rapid cycling this weapon goes through allows the Melta to discharge in a higher rate as well, though for some reason, the range is reduced, which is not really much of a problem for a Siege Dreadnought who usually has to close-in anyway. If you don't know what rapid cycling is, and haven't figured it out from the arrangement of the barrels, then we suggest that you remind yourself what a Gatling gun looks like. Well, yes, you would be correct. This is a Gatling Melta.
Sharing a word in its name with a planet-killing bomb should also give you a hint or two that this pretty girl is dangerous.
This is an instance where a weapon designed for space combat is appropriated for ground warfare.
The Magna-Melta is the primary weapon of the Caestus Assault Ram, though calling it a weapon is technically untrue since the purpose of the Magna-Melta on that assault ram is to soften armour before the rams themselves dive straight through it, unloading its boarding party into enemy voidcraft. Since the timeframe of the distance before the ram hits the ship is small, the Magna-Melta must be very powerful in order to melt the armor at such a short period of time. Stopping by the ship before firing the Magna-Melta negates the purpose of the ram; besides, that is not cool, that's boring. The Caestus must come down to the ship like a Drop Pod, and the Magna-Melta recreates the heat from the atmospheric entry part. Of course, the action itself can also be recreated on other targets such as big fortifications which you are certain that won't topple down when the ram hits. Or you can be manly and purposely using an empty ram to collapse the enemy's fortifications and use its engines and melta to blast your way out like a boss. Since the Caestus is such a sturdy metal box, it is often used as landing craft, and this is when the Astartes of the Great Crusade realized that the Magna-Melta is one hell of a Melta Cannon. Since flying the Caestus around the place just in case they needed that big Melta is impractical, they stripped off that Magna-Melta and popped it on their Deimos Predator. And by then, they had tanks with big twin-linked Melta Cannons roving around alongside as far as those two hundred years lasted.
By the present, these are mostly replaced by Land Raider Redeemers with pintle Multi-Meltas. Sadly, nobody seems to know how to mount a Magna-Melta over the hull instead of the Assault Cannons, or perhaps Magna-Melta is in low supply like pretty much every ten thousand years old relic of the Imperium.
Like the Magna-Melta, the Melta-Cutter is not intended to be used as a weapon. Unlike the Magna-Melta, the Melta-Cutter is not quite as effective when appropriated as a weapon.
While the bigger Magna-Melta is primarily used to melt ship armor and anything less durable, the Melta-Cutter is primarily concerned with the ground, specifically rocks that the drill cannot pierce through. Other than that, it operates the same principle – soften them up before punching through. The same can be said for anybody who happens to be in front of the drill. The Melta-Cutter of the Hades Breaching Drill should be seen as more of a construction equipment (like our modern rock grinders), since the main purpose of that machine is to dig tunnels. As a matter of fact, Melta-Cutters are industrial equipment for construction work used by the Imperium. In that respect, Melta-Cutters are then similar to the Clearance Incinerator, and so it should be reasonable for Genestealer Cults to have them in their uprisings. The Melta-Cutter of the Termite, however, is more in line with conventional Melta weaponry. Considering the build which is analogous to typical subterranean drills you'll find in the 50s and 60s, what the Termite is expected to punch through is definitely not just the ground, and so it is afforded with a better Melta-Cutter. Size might also come into play as well since a bigger body means more power to power stuff like heat ray cannons by the drill.
On tabletop, the Termite's Melta-Cutter is a 12" ranged assault D3 weapon with a Strength of 8, AP -4 and a damage of D6. Due to its high strength and great AP, you are able to auto-kill most GEQs, MEQs and seriously fuck up TEQs on an average basis. The Hades itself is an even bigger "fuck you" machine, with 1d6 WS3+ S10 AP-4 D1d3 melee attacks (D1d6 against Vehicles), and it has a 4++ invul in the fight phase thanks to its whirling blades. All in all, whilst predictably a short-range weapon, it is also one of the best of its category.
Siege Melta ArrayEdit
We may consider this thing here a Melta-Cutter properly adapted for military applications.
The Mastodon Heavy Assault Transport, in addition to its other wonderful bullshits, sports a front-mounted battery consisting of eight Melta cannons in addition to a big one at the center, ideal for punching massive holes on the heaviest of targets. While this is perfect for opening breaches in fortresses for transport to vomit its forty-man capacity into, it is also an excellent answer to enemy super-heavies, or just deleting fortifications since its Stone Burner rule scores extra hits with every Penetrating Hit against one. Unfortunately, you should not expect it to do too well to enemies up close since most of the Melta array is just situated too high for it to really hit anything below. This is what happens when you decide that it is a great idea to place your forward weapon on a vehicle with a ridiculously huge profile. But then again, like the case of the Caestus, the Siege Melta Array is not supposed to mow down enemies; it is supposed to crack down on fortresses, which it compensates for the lack of speed with more Melta. Of note, while the eight smaller Melta cannons are the size of what you would find on the Devil Dog and the aforementioned Caestus, the bigger centerpiece is about the same size as what you'd find on Questoris Knights.
The Siege Melta Array is essentially what you'd need in order to add a dash of heat to your huge battering ram.
It is essentially an oversized Multi-Melta that looks to be a baby brother to the Thermal Cannon below.
The Terminal Spear is a relatively large Melta weapon carried by combat walkers of the Imperial Knights, specifically the small Armiger class designated as Warglaive. Although reduced in size, even a single shot from this weapon here can still vaporize armor and melt through fortified walls and tanks alike. Unlike the similarly equipped Knight Errant, the Armiger chassis cannot afford to charge up close and wreak havoc at close range. It is too fragile for such maneuver since it is built for speed. It is nimble enough to employ harassment tactics, where the Warglaive shines. Swiftly, it moves up close and throws the Thermal Spear at pin-point precision to maximize its attack power before falling back to a safe distance. This is different from the Helverin variant which only have to maintain the distance to deliver its Autocannons. One may compare these two Armigers to our skirmishers of old, where the Helverins are archers whose range is far, while the Warglaives are javelinmen who have to get pretty close to unleash their payload. And do not think that having better range translates to archers being better. Just compare the size and weight difference between an arrow and a javelin and ask yourself which one has a better chance in planting you straight through to the ground when it hits.
The reason why they don't name this Melta cannon here with a more appropriate "Thermal Javelin" is probably because there is already an attack speeder with that name.
This thing here is the Magna-Melta on steroids, or a bigger Thermal Spear with a rather distinctive shroud, should you prefer your descriptions more direct.
The Thermal Cannon is a large Melta weapon carried by the combat walkers of either the Questor Imperialis, the Questor Mechanicus, or the Questor Traitoris; the Imperial Knights, the Mechanicum Knights, and the Renegade Knights respectively. Chassis-wise, the Thermal Cannon is installed on the all-round Questoris class as the primary weapon of the Knight Errant, and the secondary weapon of the Knight Crusader. It is one of those weapons that can make even the most battle-hardened enemies have an anal evacuation, for such a weapon is capable of immolating most things in a wide radius, and probably effectively everything should it is fired at a closer range. The hissing blasts from a Thermal Cannon can melt through a fortress wall or turn a battle tank into a pile of bubbling slag. Against infantry, entire hordes can be reduced to a blackened shadow. Against vehicles, there is no armor that offers any proof against the Thermal Cannon's super-heated shots with the exception of armor found on larger Titan walkers. Outside of Knights, the Thermal Cannon is probably about the size to be mounted as the main gun for bigger tanks such as the Macharius, or even the Malcador. As of now, aside from the Mastodon, the only Melta tanks so far are smaller ones based on the Chimera and the Deimos Predator chassis.
All in all, for Knight Scions looking to up their anti-armor game, the Thermal Cannon delivers.
Fury of MarsEdit
Being the oldest Knight House in the Imperium of Man has its benefits which include good gear from the cogboys.
This remarkable weapon channels the fires of the Red Planet’s hottest forges, eradicating its victims even at extreme range. Deciphering the flowery language, it probably means the Fury of Mars is very high in quality. It was made on Mars, why wouldn't it? And since it is House Taranis we're talking about, there's a decent chance for this particular Thermal Cannon here to be pretty, pretty old. Remember, House Taranis is the Dark Angels of the Imperial Knights, or Horus Lupercal if we're looking by Primarchs since other Knight Houses were more or less "discovered" as well; the difference for the latter (or possibly both) is that House Taranis, though Mechanicum-aligned, is a loyalist. The Fury of Mars could have been so old that it was still hot out of the production line when the Unification Wars were still going on Terra. Age aside, it is said that to face the Fury of Mars is to be subjected to the killing ire of the Omnissiah himself, and to be struck down without mercy. This Thermal Cannon is no different in terms of general capabilities compared to the standard breed. The only noticeable difference here apart from being really old and exclusive to House Taranis Knights who have Thermal Cannons on one arm or the other is the fact that it goes as far as a Reaver Melta Cannon (of the current edition) can go.
That is probably a good summary for the weapon – a Titan-grade Melta Cannon (where only range is concerned) at the size for a Questoris Knight.
The reader should be informed that there are two kinds of Melta Cannons. The first is the kind you usually see carried by Reaver Battle Titans. The second kind is the one you can find attached on the Hellhound flame tank variant called Devil Dog, which is pretty much what you should have in your mind for a Melta Cannon.
So right now, we know a few sizes all these Meltas come in. The very first one is the smallest Inferno Pistol size, which is pretty rare since it is not on the mass production line. Next to that is the standard Meltagun size which you may find carried by some soldiers as well as on many vehicles in the form of Multi-Melta. The Melta Cannon here is the next in line whose bore size is about what you'd find on the Magna-Melta and possibly the Thermal Spear too. It is unknown what the Imperium calls the size of Thermal Cannon, but it is likely folded as Melta Cannon just like the Titan size we have here. Note that it is rather unlikely for that size to be called "Thermal Cannon" since that prefix so far is only used where Knights are concerned, and it might be their own jargon for the modification fitted for those combat walkers. Now about this largest size we have here, notice how it is considerably longer relative to the size of the vehicle it is installed on. This might be an attempt to increase its range so that the Titan would not need to get too close in order to melt something. Because of the lack of range, it is unlikely for there to be a super-heavy tank such as the Baneblade mounting this as its main gun, although there is still a slight chance since the Imperium thinks mounting a giant flamethrower on the Malcador chassis is a good idea. The trapezoidal shroud is also rather unique as much as the pole below it; that pole is for hanging down flags, apparently.
This thing dumps small blasts worth of Multi-Melta statline upon anything it deems unlucky for that day, and it is one of the best ways of dealing with Terminators. Titans get an even bigger Melta Cannon with absolutely rapetastic statline – S10 AP1 10" (yes, TEN inches) blast that always rolls extra D6 on partials and 2D6 on direct hits. And due to being Primary Weapon, it also allows you to reroll primary to-pen dice. The only two downsides are its mediocre (for a Titan) range and lack of ignores cover, which is silly because fluff-wise, this thing will melt through any wall and bunker like it is made of butter, not to mention some silly ruins and trees.
|Weapons of the Genestealer Cults|
|Sidearms:|| Autopistol - Bolt Pistol - Hand Flamer - Laspistol |
Needle Pistol - Web Pistol - Liberator Autostub
|Basic Weapons:||Autogun - Lasgun - Shotgun - Webber - Storm Bolter|
|Special Weapons:|| Flamer - Grenade Launcher - Sniper Rifle - Mining Laser |
Silencer Sniper Rifle - Proclamaitor Hailer - Scrambler Array
|Heavy Weapons:|| Autocannon - Heavy Bolter - Heavy Flamer - Heavy Stubber |
Missile Launcher - Mortar - Multi-laser - Seismic Cannon
Heavy Mining Laser - Atalan Incinerator - Multi-Melta
Plasma Cannon - Lascannon
| Battle Cannon - Clearance Incinerator - Eradicator Nova Cannon |
Heavy Seismic Cannon - Hunter-Killer Missile
|Melee Weapons|| Chain Weapon - Power Weapon - Tyranid Close Combat Weapons |
Heavy Rock Drill - Heavy Rock Cutter - Heavy Rock Saw
Miscellaneous Weapons - Basic Close Combat Weapons
|Grenades & Explosives||Frag Grenade - Krak Grenade - Blasting Charges|
Eldar Melta WeaponsEdit
The Eldar employ fusion guns, fusion pistols, and fire pikes for their portable anti-tank weaponry. Fusion guns and fusion pistols are meltaguns and inferno pistols in a shape more pleasing to Eldar aesthetics, but fire pikes are longer range (18") meltaguns with no additional downsides. Fire Dragons can take a fusion gun on every squad member and their sergeant can take a fire pike.
The Fusion Pistol is a handheld, heat-based weapon – a Melta pistol used by the Eldar, and the baby brother of their Fusion family.
For a race that is not plagued by bureaucratic nightmares, the Fusion Pistol is curiously rather hard to find among Craftworlders – even the Aspect Warriors who are all about the heat do not carry them. Only the Autarchs seem to carry them to battle. This might mean that the Fusion Pistol is similarly difficult to make like the Inferno Pistol, or that there is an Aspect Shrine exclusively tailored for usage of Fusion Pistols that we do not know about. The first conjecture is odd since, as mentioned, the Craftworld Eldar do not really stagnate in the same manner as the Imperium/Mechanicum. The second conjecture presents Aspect Warriors somehow exclusively using Fusion Pistols while remaining distinct from the Fire Dragons. These theoretical fusion cowboys might emphasize on swiftness in contrast to the Fire Dragons, taking advantage of the small size of their primary weapon. Conjectures aside, another fact here is that the Harlequin Eldar carry these quite frequent. Since this lot prefers close quarters combat, it makes sense for them to have a good number of Fusion Pistols in store just in case they have to dance straight to a tank or something similarly tough. The Harlequins might actually make these Fusion Pistols in-house, and distribute the surplus to Craftworlds.
The Fusion Pistol is practically identical to the Imperium's Inferno Pistol as far as stats are concerned.
The Eldar possess an unsurpassed mastery in heat-based weapons, and they take savage delight in the devastation they create.
The Fusion Gun is by far one of the most common heat-based weapons of the Eldar, deployed in high numbers among the Aspect Warriors known as Fire Dragons. Though it can only be used at short range, it possesses a sophisticated targeting system, as befits high status troops like Aspect Warriors. Like most Eldar technology, the weapon is psychically activated, its resonant Wraithbone construction being sensitive to the Eldar's innately psychic mind. A Fire Dragons' Fusion Gun is linked to its targeter through the handle. It is common knowledge to always replace your Eldar Flamer with a Fusion Gun as the Fusion Gun just does the Flamer's job so much better for roughly the same cost and effectiveness. The Skyraider's Kiss can be utilized by both Fire Dragons, Aspect Warriors as well as Storm Guardian units. This Fusion Gun variant was initially developed for deployment on Bethalmae. The "Skyraider's Kiss" design was "borrowed" from Craftworld Mymeara after their prototypes proved capable at functioning at well below sub-zero conditions. The addition of extra cabling to the weapon to shunt extra coolant also allows this variant to be fired more frequently, requiring less time to cool down between shots. The trade-off for the extra cooling is that the additional coolant has to be stored within weapon, making the whole thing heavier as a result.
Despite its overall superiority in fluff, the Fusion Gun is also practically identical to the Imperium's Meltagun in terms of stats.
Instead of making a bigger Melta and carrying it in the same manner a Dark Reaper would, the Fire Dragons realized that to increase range, they only needed to extend the barrel.
The Fire Pike is essentially a Fusion Gun with a flag pole for a barrel exclusively carried by Eldar Exarchs of the Fire Dragons Aspect Shrine. Think of it as an elongated Fusion Gun that looks strangely phallic and erect. The lengthened barrel is not just for show, however. In fact, the Fire Pike is their only handheld Melta that is actually able to hit its target beyond three meters; an exceptional feat for its size. Although the bulkier Multi-Melta still maintains a longer range, smaller frames like regular Humans and Eldar would need Power Armour to carry it around. For a Melta weapon, the Fire Pike projects its radiating heat beam a considerable distance further than the standard range of regular Melta weapons of the same size/weight melting through the toughest armor with deadly precision. Fire Pikes predate the existence of the Imperium of Man, having been created by Eldar artisans long millennia ago. And so they are pretty rare among the arsenals of the Eldar, most often borne by the mightiest champions of their kind as relic weapons beyond contemporary means to reproduce even for the Eldar Craftworlds. This may translate as Fire Pikes being rather common in the past, perhaps available to all Fire Dragons. Imagine a pike square consisted of Fire Pikes. Good luck running your tanks over that.
Stats-wise, the Fire Pike is literally just the Fusion Gun with six extra inches of range. That's it.
The Inferno Lance is the largest Melta weapon the Eldar so far has to offer.
Inferno Lances are carried by the more elite Skathach Wraithknights who can afford better gear such as the alternative Deathshroud Cannon. As you can tell from the apparent barrel long enough to almost convince you that it is a long-range cannon, the weapon is a refinement based on the previous Fire Pike of the Fire Dragons. Powered by the Skathach's integral generator, the Inferno Lance is capable of burning through the armor of even the mightiest enemy war machine in a single, sustained burst of super-heated particles and high-band radiation. To make the best use of the Inferno Lances, the Wraithknights usually equip these in a pair for twice the Dakka. A shame that it is not found as secondary weapons on Eldar Titans such as the Revenant Scout Titan or the more powerful Phantom Battle Titan, as this would give the Space Elves a good chance in poking a dent on the Titans of the Imperium; unless, of course, they already have something bigger and better. If that is the case, it better not be another long-barreled Fusion Gun... speaking of which, since the Fire Pike is essentially a branch off the regular Fusion Gun, we have not yet seen what the Eldar "Fusion Cannon" proper looks like. But if one were to guess, it wouldn't have a long barrel for a start.
Strangely enough, the equivalent weapon by the Imperium's side, the Thermal Cannon, has better stats than this, though we can certainly attribute that to lighter weight and the fact that the Inferno Lance is cheaper as well.
Dark Eldar Melta WeaponsEdit
The Heat Lance is a rare occurrence of a two-in-one 40k weapon that is actually something more than two different (or the same) kind of weapons soldered together.
A rather mysterious weapon lacking in detail beyond that brief description, all we know for sure about the Heat Lance is that it is a one-of-a-kind combination of Las and Melta. This hot rod obliterates any vehicle that gets too close. In a sense, instead of dispersing the obscene heat that most Melta weapons should in order to cover as much as area as possible, the Heat Lance actually focuses the discharged super-heated gas into a point like a Las weapon. This intensifies its armor penetration capability to puncture even the toughest of armor. As with every melta weapon, the heat lance has short range but is extremely devastating. Considering that the Heat Lance is the only Melta weapon available to the Dark Eldar so far, there is a possibility that the Heat Lance is a modification of a Las weapon. Another modification candidate is a weapon of the Fire Dragons Exarch, the Fire Pike – in fact, both weapons have remarkably similar stat lines. Unlike those Craftworlders, Heat Lances are not carried by pyromaniacs. Possibly due to being light in weight, some Scourges carry one over their fly-bys. With possibly the same logic, the Reavers may also have one attached on the Jetbike. The most bulky... thing that carries the Heat Lance is the Talos Pain Engine, specifically two by the end of the tail.
As stated, the Heat Lance is essentially the Dark Eldar's Fire Pike that compensates the shorter range from shorter length with Laser technology.
|Weapons of the Dark Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Blast Pistol - Fusion Pistol - Splinter Pistol - Stinger Pistol - Terrorfex|
|Basic Weapons:||Blaster - Shardcarbine - Shredder - Splinter Rifle|
|Special Weapons:|| Destructor - Eyeburst - Hexrifle |
Liquifier Gun - Ossefactor - Splinter Pods - Tormentor
|Heavy Weapons:|| Dark Lance - Haywire Blaster - Heat Lance |
Phantasm Grenade Launcher - Splinter Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:|| Disintegrator Cannon - Horrorfex - Implosion Missile - Monoscythe Missile |
Necrotoxin Missile - Shatterfield Missile - Spirit Vortex - Stinger Pod
|Melee Weapons||Dark Eldar Combat Weapons - Power Weapons|
|Grenades & Explosives||Plasma Grenade - Haywire Grenade - Void Mine|
Necron Melta WeaponsEdit
Yep that's right, even the Necrons have Melta-Weapons in the form of the Heat Ray that can be used either as a focused beam (two shots at STR8 AP1) or as a heavy flamer (AP4 STR5) is used exclusively by the Triarch Stalker, and the short-ranged but very destructive Heat Cannon used by Sentry Pylons.
The Cutting Beam is a Necron weapon only utilized by the insect-like constructs known as Canoptek Acanthrites.
This Cutting Beam mounted within the Acanthrite's thorax is capable of firing a short range, highly concentrated shaft of thermic energy ray that is able to slice apart the toughest of materials, dissecting steel, stone and flesh with equal ease and precision of a surgeon’s scalpel blade. Canoptek Acanthrites often use their Cutting Beams for the destruction of armored vehicles and troops, as well as the systematic and rapid dismemberment of bunkers and fortifications. Of note, unlike the similarly focused Fire Pike and Heat Lance of the Eldar, the Cutting Beam of the Necrons is much more similar to that of a standard Meltagun, save for being far more focused and prolonged. This distinction doesn't make their effectiveness any better, though, because the Cutting Beam is more or less the same as any Meltagun out there. We may infer this similarity to the supposed function of these Canoptek constructs. Acanthrites are deployed in swarms for the purpose of systematic disintegration of enemy fortifications and pretty much anything else that just has to be in their way. This means that the Cutting Beam is more akin to that of a precision tool for Necron mass demolitions job that just happens to be good at killing combatants who are encased in armor like a tank.
In battle, this weapon-worthy quality translates to the Acanthrites, being vanguard units, using them to soften up the enemy defenses for the following main forces to easily engage.
This here is a weapon ripped straight out of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds in both name and possibly function.
A Heat Ray is a multi-purpose Necron fusion weapon – that is, Melta – and it is most commonly mounted on Triarch Stalkers whose role is to engage heavy armor and provide close fire support. Heat Rays are potent weapons in that they are capable of firing in two different modes just like those of the Orks'. Unlike the Burnas, however, the Necrons' "cuttin flame" actually goes well beyond melee range. If an enemy tank stalls the main Necron attack, a single Focused blast from the Heat Ray is sufficient to end the threat. Similarly, if dug-in infantry are hampering an advance, a Triarch Stalker can break the deadlock by setting the Heat Ray to fire a Dispersed beam, sending a wide cone of scorching plasma swirling into every crevasse to boil the enemy alive. Whereas a focused beam is akin to a Melta Weapon with a significant range comparable to a Multi-Melta, the Dispersed beam is more similar to a Heavy Flamer in terms of the potential damage it can inflict. Of note, this ability of changing between Dispersed and Focused firing modes is remarkably similar to another weapon of the Salamanders, the Pyroclast Flame Projector. It seems Vulkan had been tinkering with Necron tech prior to the Horus Heresy, or that both him and the cannon found inspiration from the novel.
Or he might have found inspiration from the Orks instead. Fluff-wise, the Burna of the Orks is likely inspired by the Heat Ray of the Necrons – and hopefully not the other way around.
What we see here is the Heat Ray's bigger brother. But since it is big enough to mount on a turret, it is now a cannon.
The Heat Cannon is a Necron thermal energy weapon with qualities from appearance to destructive capability similar to that of the smaller Heat Ray, only much bigger, and it is one of the three primary weapon choices for a Sentry Pylon. Unlike the Heat Ray, however, it does not have a Dispersed firing mode, and there really isn't any big reason to equip a static weapons platform with a flame cannon unless the feature is complimentary. The Heat Cannon is a weapon of extraordinary power. This giant ray gun can reduce the most heavily-armored tanks into piles of molten slag and burn its way through the most heavily-protected fortifications at relatively great distances. With every beam it fires, it is capable of vaporizing everything in an area with a small blast, and its rate of fire allows it to continually bombard an area with impunity. By its capabilities, it is equivalent to the Thermal Cannon sported by the Questoris Knights of the Imperium of Man. Speaking of which, their possible rendition of the Knight Errant is an interesting prospect, though since it is the Necrons we're talking about, the construct in question will probably have at least six legs and not two. Well, there are the Bone Giants, but that's their Tomb Kings incarnation over Warhammer Fantasy.
However, like two other two cannons of total destruction, the Heat Cannon might actually require a lot of power and space supported by the frame of a Sentry Pylon in order to operate.
|Weapons of the Necrons|
|Sidearms:||Particle Caster - Tachyon Arrow - Transdimensional Beamer|
|Basic Weapons:||Gauss Flayer - Tesla Carbine|
|Special Weapons:||Gauntlet of Fire - Synaptic Disintegrator|
|Heavy Weapons:||Gauss Blaster - Gauss Cannon - Heavy Gauss Cannon - Particle Beamer|
|Staff Weapons:|| Abyssal Staff - Aeonstave - Eldritch Lance - Rod of Covenant |
Staff of Light - Staff of the Destroyer - Tremorstave - Voltaic Staff
|Vehicle Weapons:|| Death Ray - Exile Cannon - Focused Death Ray - Gauss Exterminator - Gauss Flux Arc |
Heat Cannon - Heat Ray - Particle Shredder - Tesla Cannon - Thermal Cutting Beam
|Superheavy Weapons:|| Doomsday Cannon - Gauss Annihilator - Gauss Obliterator |
Particle Whip - Tesla Destructor - Tesla Sphere - Synaptic Obliterator
Transdimensional Projector - Singularity Generator
|Melee Weapons||C'tan Phase Weapons - Hyperphase Sword - Voidblade|
Tau Melta WeaponsEdit
While the Imperium probably has been using Melta ever since the Emperor kick-started it, the Tau Empire probably invented Melta by themselves at some point. That's cute.
The primary Melta weapon of the Tau is the Fusion Blaster, an equivalent to the standard Imperial Meltagun, only with a slightly longer range because the thing is about as bulky as a Multi-Melta, though not as powerful. Like all Melta weapons, the Fusion Blaster agitates the sub-atomic particles of the target, causing a massive build-up of heat in the same manner as our microwave oven. Living targets are often completely vaporized, and non-living targets, even the most heavily armored vehicles and fortifications, can be reduced to slag in the blink of an eye with its nuclear-fusion-powered blast. The Fusion Blaster is most commonly utilized as a weapons system on standard Battlesuits because the size is about just right. Even Commander Shadowsun dual-wields the damn thing, getting into close combat and cutting armor left and right like a Fruit Ninja. Bigger Battlesuits may choose to attach a couple of Fusion Blasters as side weaponry, or might as well use a couple of them on one arm as another weapon. Outside the area of Battlesuits, Piranha skimmers may also take it as primary weapon if it just so happens to be more appropriate for the upcoming battle with lots of tanks than the Burst Cannon.
The necessity to engage hostile armored units the rest of the galaxy has to offer should force the Tau Empire to expand even further in this field.
The closest thing the Tau Empire has gotten to a Lightsaber.
This is a deadly Fusion Blaster modification exclusively deployed by the Farsight Enclaves as an alternative if the Battlesuit in question happens to have at least two Fusion Blasters installed comes in a pair. Collectively called Fusion Blades, while it is more or less the same pair of Fusion Blasters when fired at range and possibly appearance, when activated for melee in exchange for a huge power drain, the volatile stream of Melta supposedly shortens and concentrates, resembling a blade in both form and function. The modification was first requested by Commander Brightsword III. This thing was so badass that Commander Brightsword VII went full-on Jedi Knight on the Tyranids with the thing. This weapon has been continually refined over the decades by Farsight's own Earth caste division. They'll eventually figure out how to reduce the severe power drain, probably. There remains a possibility that the Fusion Blades is viable for larger Fusion Weapons as well. But since they still haven't figured this current one out just yet, Lightsabers the size of a Reaper Chainsword remains a fantasy. Given enough time, we might get to see more than one Farsight Battlesuit with lightsabers. For now, only one presumably field-testing prototype is available to the Farsight Enclaves for installation on one of their Battlesuits.
If GW decides that the Tau in general needs some more close combat action, this is the weapon they would probably turn to.
Although the appearance is drastically different, the Fusion Cascade is a modification of the Fusion Blaster possibly tailor-made just for the XV9 "Hazard" Battlesuits.
An experimental Battlesuits should also use experimental weapons, and the Fusion Cascade is one of the options the XV9 has in store. Indeed, the weapon is simply a (likely heavily) modified version of the standard Fusion Blaster which trades raw power in exchange for a vastly improved rate of fire – basically, a Melta machine gun. Since the barrel is conveniently cylindrical, it opens up the possibility that it spins like a Gatling. This will make the Fusion Cascade a Melta Minigun. Designed to be used with the XV9 Hazard Suits whose operational keyword is "Close Support," the Fusion Cascade unleashes a blistering torrent of energy that punches holes in armor with ease and transforms everything else in its path to swirling ash. Of course, in exchange for the microwave Dakka, the Fusion Cascade has a rather short effective range equivalent to that of the common Imperial Meltagun. This forces the possibly foolhardy pilot of the XV9 equipped with this to engage the enemy at an uncomfortably close range. Do remember, this is the Tau we're talking about here. By effectiveness, interestingly enough, the Fusion Cascade is at about the same level as the Thermal Spear fitted on Armiger Knights, though our Warglaives can afford more than double the range of this tube.
So if you want some rapid-firing Melta cannons in your army for the Greater Good, you must get the XV9.
By merit of being a bigger Battlesuit, the XV95 gets its own collection of weapons developed including this Melta cannon.
The XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit may be armed with a Fusion Collider, one of the foremost tank-busting weapons in the Tau arsenal by being really big and also due to the tactics deployed by its users. Fitted with power dispersal exchangers which might be some fancy coolant systems, this weapon can fire a searing blaze of energy capable of destroying the most heavily armored foe like what a Melta should be able to. This particular one, however, has no risk of detection by enemy imaging, which might be the fancy coolant doing its thing. The Fusion Collider's comparatively short range at the about same distance as the normal Fusion Blaster is seen as little impediment to the Ghostkeel's Shas'vre pilot – that is, Fire Caste Level 4 who is also a Stealthsuit veteran – for the Battlesuit has been specifically engineered to enter close range without harm. Frequently, the detection part is off the table for these big ninjas. Often the first sign of a Ghostkeel's presence is the mushroom cloud explosion of a choice target detonating from within, flames rippling across the XV95's stealth field as it withdraws into the gloom within the relative safety of that same stealth field once more. This is a weapon to take up if you, the Ghostkeel pilot, are in the mood to backstab tank columns.
The Fusion Collider is functionally a Fusion Blaster with a D3 shots, allowing it to destroy tightly packed TEQ's and Vehicles.
This is basically the Fusion Blaster, but bigger and most notably longer.
Indeed, the Fusion Cannon is essentially a larger version of the Battlesuit-mounted Fusion Blaster above. The Fusion Cannon has an extended range compared to a Fusion Blaster, comparable to the Imperium's Multi-Melta in that respect and destructive capabilities in fact. A larger blast radius allows it to fire and destroy closely packed groups of enemy vehicles and heavy infantry. Hammerhead Gunships are the only Tau unit armed with Fusion Cannons, as they may be mounted as a twin-linked primary turret weapons system in place of a more common Railgun or Ion Cannon. You'd think something rather basic like this would find more usage in their armies. The Fusion Cannon is one of the experimental weapons systems that were first deployed (i.e. field-tested) against the Imperium during the Taros Campaign. Judging from its rarity, either the Earth Caste engineers or the Fire Caste soldiers were probably not too keen about this particular one. Since the only specimen that uses this uses in a pair, it opens up a possibility for the Farsight Enclaves to implement their Fusion Blades system on the much larger Fusion Cannons, although this application would be most likely very limited since Fusion Blades work so well with Battlesuits precisely because arms are flexible – turrets are not flexible.
Forge World used to produce a variant turret for the Hammerhead Gunship for the twin-linked Fusion Cannon, which is the equivalent of the Devil Dog's Melta Cannon, but with two shots instead of D3. But since it "used to," your only choices of getting one are either finding people who sell it, whipping out your conversion expertise, or the universal solution.
Frankly, the Tau might have gone overboard with making the next size in their array of Melta weaponry.
While the gorillas made their Melta Cannons huge in size with similarly huge blasts, the Tau took a different approach and basically created a gatling Multi-Melta that definitely wasn't inspired by a one Cyclonic Melta Lance. Designed as a radical solution to the limitations of current Tau Fusion/Melta weapons technology, the Fusion Eradicator combines a battery of multiple synchronized firing chambers, ten to be exact. By appearance, it looks like the Earth Caste engineers have figured out a design paradigm behind the Imperial weapons, and they applied that theory accordingly by strapping not two, not three, but five Fusion Cascades together. This ridiculous weapon creates a blast of energy so potent that solid matter caught in its path is torn apart at a molecular level by brute thermal force, and no physical material yet known to the Tau can survive its destructive power save perhaps their plot armor. The cost in materials and expertise to create a single Fusion Eradicator is immense, and the natural endurance of each weapon is limited often to a single battle. Each Fusion Eradicator is then discarded and must be replaced. This is different from Imperial technology where every fucking thing over there lasts for a heck of a long time. However, as the Imperial Knights lead the Imperium's counter-attack to retake the Damocles Gulf, a weapon capable of reliably one-shotting them is worth any price.
The Fusion Eradicator on tabletop is a Titanic weapon that can be mounted on the Tau KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armor. The weapon itself is a five-shot Fusion Blaster with an extra 6" range. Once you realize that each Fusion Blaster is a 1D6 damage weapon, you'll know that it's gonna do a lot of hurt.