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Welfstar
23-07-2012, 20:15
What happens when you fire a melta weapon?

Does it shoot a bolt?

I'm not sure why or what I was referring to at the time, but I remember thinking back in 3rd ed. times that you pulled the trigger, nothing visible exited the barrel, but almost immediately after your target started to melt and fizzle away. Something like that.

Am I completely off? Has this been changed?

I'm thinking there's gotta be some melta vet out there who must know the ins and outs of this...

snottlebocket
23-07-2012, 20:29
This is the description given in the Necromunda rulebook for meltaguns. It's one of the oldest sources for 40k individual weapon descriptions I can find.



The melta-gun is also known as the melter, cooker or vape gun. It works by means of sub-molecular thermal agitation, literally cooking, melting, or eventually vaporising the target. A melta-gun can melt plasteel and its effect upon living tissue is horrible indeed.

The weapon makes no noise when fired. The passage of the beam heats the air to super-hot temperatures, causing a distinctive hiss which becomes a roaring blast as living flesh is hit and body moisture vaporises explosively.



That description fairly accurately describes what a microwave does. Which would suggest that the effect is silent and invisible safe for the results on the target. Interestingly enough this is also what a real world crowd control weapon uses. It uses radiation to boil the surface moisture in your skin, making it unbearably painful to face.

Gorbad Ironclaw
23-07-2012, 20:31
The looks like a straight quote from the 2nd ed Wargear book, and I think that's still pretty much the description.

ForgottenLore
23-07-2012, 20:33
I distinctly remember reading a description of melta weapons that described them as "heat rays", so I always had the image of a really intense heat shimmer emanating from the gun to the target.

Toadius80
23-07-2012, 20:34
2nd edition had a book called Wargear, had nice descriptions of each and all. Unfortunately I longer have mine due to flooding but your description sounds about right, a mass of invisible heat that auto melts and evaporates the target.

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

snottlebocket
23-07-2012, 20:36
2nd edition had a book called Wargear, had nice descriptions of each and all. Unfortunately I longer have mine due to flooding but your description sounds about right, a mass of invisible heat that auto melts and evaporates the target.

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

The necromunda rulebook stems from about the same era and seems to use many of the same texts. Here's a pdf download: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1330042_Necromunda_Rulebook.pdf

Weapon descriptions start at page 34.

Formerly Wu
23-07-2012, 20:37
I was rather fond of the melta's depiction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLJ8PhZlso8) in Space Marine: a brief hiss followed by a delayed air cannon blast, producing a brief wavefront of superheated air and the prompt disintegration of anything caught in it.

snottlebocket
23-07-2012, 20:46
I was rather fond of the melta's depiction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLJ8PhZlso8) in Space Marine: a brief hiss followed by a delayed air cannon blast, producing a brief wavefront of superheated air and the prompt disintegration of anything caught in it.

I always thought that game had a very odd version of the meltagun. They turned it into some sort of heat shotgun. And the gun famed for melting holes straight through tanks sometimes failed to kill a basic ork boy. (or left the body intact)

jareddm3
23-07-2012, 21:05
I always thought that game had a very odd version of the meltagun. They turned it into some sort of heat shotgun. And the gun famed for melting holes straight through tanks sometimes failed to kill a basic ork boy. (or left the body intact)

Don't confuse balance with fluff. Enemies are just just a hit detection pattern and a health bar. The meltagun in Space Marine was developed to fill the shotgun role without wasting an iconic weapon. What we get out of it is an alternate meltagun pattern that trades a constant stream of intense heat, for a single wide burst attack.

snottlebocket
23-07-2012, 21:15
Don't confuse balance with fluff. Enemies are just just a hit detection pattern and a health bar. The meltagun in Space Marine was developed to fill the shotgun role without wasting an iconic weapon. What we get out of it is an alternate meltagun pattern that trades a constant stream of intense heat, for a single wide burst attack.

Just sounds like a misuse of intellectual property to me. Warhammer has shotguns. Space Marines have shotguns.

The space marine game was very bad at getting the weapons right anyway. They used 40k's most iconic anti tank weapons as a sniper rifle and a shot gun. The lascannon and the meltagun are both known for two things. Extreme power and being dedicated anti armor solutions. In the videogame they were both misused and both frequently failed to even kill in one shot. So you'd end up with ork boyz taking a lascannon bolt to the chest without dying.

Same with melee weapons really. Out of all the melee weapons in 40k they picked the thunder hammer to be used as a swift assault weapon for jumppack troops. Nice.

Dylius
23-07-2012, 21:27
I think they just picked those weapons because they're very easily recognisable and widely known. As there are no tanks in the game (except the DLC) they had to be modified a little.

AndrewGPaul
23-07-2012, 21:31
I was rather fond of the melta's depiction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLJ8PhZlso8) in Space Marine: a brief hiss followed by a delayed air cannon blast, producing a brief wavefront of superheated air and the prompt disintegration of anything caught in it.

I thought you were talking about Ian Watson's novel for a moment; that featured local enforcers using vehicle-mounted multi-meltas as riot-control weapons :eek:

Cthell
23-07-2012, 21:58
I thought you were talking about Ian Watson's novel for a moment; that featured local enforcers using vehicle-mounted multi-meltas as riot-control weapons :eek:

Seems like it'd control the riot pretty well to me. This is 40k we're talking about, where the Arbites deploy lascannon-tarantulas for automated sentry duty.

Leftenant Gashrog
23-07-2012, 22:11
I may be wrong but I think they were written up as riot-control weapons somewhere else as well, possibly the wargear article for Confrontation (Necromunda's precursor).

Victrix
24-07-2012, 01:07
I just imagine there's some sort of nuclear reaction they're triggering [In the broadest context, not fusion/fission] that spits out a wide-band radiation in ridiculous amounts. Which explains why it is so versatile, though short-ranged. Radiation dissipates pretty damn fast from the source - plus you wouldn't want to contaminate the surrounding few miles by having anything long-lived or able to saturate a wide area.

As for a bolt - think "bolt" of lightning. You'd probably see the air shimmer, or shift to a different color as the constituent particles react to the radiation.

Kakapo42
24-07-2012, 03:43
I've always imagined it as a bright plume erupting from the barrel, a bit like a giant blowtorch, which is then channelled into a beam of sorts. Probably not the most accurate depiction, but it would probably look impressive...

agurus1
24-07-2012, 04:07
Yeah I always imagined a beam as well, white hot probably :)

Gorbad Ironclaw
24-07-2012, 15:45
I thought you were talking about Ian Watson's novel for a moment; that featured local enforcers using vehicle-mounted multi-meltas as riot-control weapons :eek:
Dreadnoughts equipped with a multi-melta used to have a secondary fire option for it that effectively turned it into a heavy flamer. Given how brutal IoM is it doesn't sound too far fetched that they would use a less focused area of effect multi-melta style weapon for riot-control.

EDMM
24-07-2012, 16:35
I like to think they operate similarly to what is described here:
http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?347634-Melta-bolts&p=6339762#post6339762
(But on a much smaller scale)

Lord Damocles
24-07-2012, 18:33
Here are some descriptions of melta weapons:

'MELTA WEAPONS
Melta weapons, sometimes called fusion guns, meltas or cookers, fire a sub-molecular thermal blast over a short distance, causing massive molecular breakdown and turning the target into molten slag and steaming vapour in a matter of seconds.
Most melta guns use highly pressurised pyrum-petrol gases, charged to produce a fearsome blast. Melta guns use a two part injection system to force the gas into a sub molecular state, which will vapourise just about any target. This results in an awesomely powerful blast at short range, with the heat dissipating rapidly at longer ranges. The two part reaction makes melta weapons slow to fire but the devastating results make them a popular support weapon in the battlefield, especially useful in an anti-tank role, or when attacking enemy strongpoints. Many commanders prefer melta weapons over the less reliable plasma gun.
A melta gun makes very little noise when fired except for the high pitched hiss of vaporizing moisture which becomes a roaring blast as the target detonates.'

Rulebook (3rd ed.), pg.61


'MELTA-GUN
The melta-gun is also known as the melter, cooker or vape gun. Itt works by submolecular thermal agitation in a manner comparable to microwave irradiation. The target gets very hot and eventually cooks, melts or just evaporates. A melta-gun can melt plasteel or plascrete, and its effects upon living tissue al-e impressive to say the Ieast. The weapon has only a short range, so it is used mostly for close assault and support.
The melta-gun makes no noise when fired, but the super-heating of the air produces a distinct hiss which becomes a roaring blast as living targets are hit and their bodies' moisture vapourises explosively.

Wargear (2nd ed.), pg.38


'MELTA-GUN
The melta-gun is also known as the melter, cooker or vape gun. It works by means of sub-molecular thermal agitation, literally cooking, melting, or eventually vaporising the target. A melta-gun can melt plasteel and its effect upon living tissue is horrible indeed.
The weapon makes no noise when fired. The passage of the beam heats the air to super-hot temperatures, causing a distinctive hiss which becomes a roaring blast as living flesh is hit and body moisture vaporises explosively.'

Necromunda Rulebook, pg.41

---------------

Melta weapons have been depicted as firing 'bolts' - eg. Fire Dragons in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (although Sororitas melta weapons in Soulstorm fire 'beams'), and the various weapons in Chaos Gate, although these may be due to difficulties with representing blasts of heat in games (particularly Chaos Gate).

Cthell
24-07-2012, 20:33
Melta weapons have been depicted as firing 'bolts' - eg. Fire Dragons in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (although Sororitas melta weapons in Soulstorm fire 'beams'), and the various weapons in Chaos Gate, although these may be due to difficulties with representing blasts of heat in games (particularly Chaos Gate).

Interestingly, the "Fire Warrior" game followed the fluff description pretty closely - the beam was invisible, and when you hit a human target they would start to jerk and spasm; if you kept the beam on them long enough they would explode dramatically.

Sotek
24-07-2012, 20:50
I always imagined them to be a sort of combination of a microwave generator combined with a powerhose-level flamer. In 2nd ed vehicle mounted multi-meltas could opt to fire as a flamer iirc. I quite like the Sisters of Battle 'heat ray' in DoW. That's how they work in my mind.

khaosmarines
25-07-2012, 02:36
I always imagine they shoot lava....

I like how they are represented in DOW 2.

Lupe
25-07-2012, 08:01
I always imagine they shoot lava....

I like how they are represented in DOW 2.

Well, that's also the case in DOW 1 (or at least, the Soulstorm expansion). But I think it's got more to do with the fact that in an RTS game you might want a visible representation of what unit is being shot at with the melta. I'm personally in favor of the Space Marine approach, to be honest...

ChaplainCharlie
25-07-2012, 12:53
In FireWarrior the Meltagun fired a beam of heat, more like a Flamer than anything else really.
In Dawn of War it fires bolts (at least Eldar equivalents do).

I think both might be applicable. At long range, the weapon fires a bolt. This is a more charged-up single discharge that still packs heat and punch at the weapons' maximum range. But when closing in on a target, the firer adjust the nozzle or flips a trigger to engage the continuous beam. This can be used to force more and more energy into the armor plating of the target to quickly melt through.

At long range, a blast of a Meltagun could hence heat up and cause surface damage to vehicle armor, melting the outmost layers and deforming armor plates, but lacks the continued push to melt through. At shorter range the continuous beam allows for greater penetrative power.

After all, if we assume that the weapon really just heats up air, then when a "blast of air" hits something solid, it will immediately be pushed aside. A blast from a Meltagun at long range could fry a Marine in his armor for sure, but the blast might not have the power to punch through the solid matter before the blast itself is deflected and evaporates or cools down. A jet of super-hot air, however, would bore itself through even thick walls with ease.

snottlebocket
25-07-2012, 13:24
In FireWarrior
After all, if we assume that the weapon really just heats up air, then when a "blast of air" hits something solid, it will immediately be pushed aside. A blast from a Meltagun at long range could fry a Marine in his armor for sure, but the blast might not have the power to punch through the solid matter before the blast itself is deflected and evaporates or cools down. A jet of super-hot air, however, would bore itself through even thick walls with ease.

You're misreading. It doesn't fire a blast of heated air. It does the exact same thing as a microwave but in beam form. It excites molecules which creates heat. Which is invisible but between the firer and the target is a lot of air that also get's heated up through the same process.

If it hits a vehicle it'll start heating up the first thing it hits. The outer armor which melts away allowing it to penetrate and do the same to whatever is inside. Ammunition, engines, crew.

lekajaw
25-07-2012, 17:41
If you're generating that much heat, there is no way it could stay as a concentrated beam for very long. I think the "shot gun" like effect of a melta is pretty apt, especially against fleshy opponents like orks. However, against a tank, the super heated central beam of the heat cone would be the only part that actually punches through the armor. Light energy from a lascannon would not have the same spread out effect.

Cthell
25-07-2012, 18:06
If you're generating that much heat, there is no way it could stay as a concentrated beam for very long. I think the "shot gun" like effect of a melta is pretty apt, especially against fleshy opponents like orks. However, against a tank, the super heated central beam of the heat cone would be the only part that actually punches through the armor. Light energy from a lascannon would not have the same spread out effect.

Why not? It could be a Maser-type weapon, in which case the limiting factor would be "rain fade".

*Edit* Thinking about it some more, it appears to me that a 12cm wavelength chemical maser is one of the most... I hesitate to say "realistic" when talking about 40k, so...plausable? explanations for how a meltaweapon works. It would also explain how it could be used for riot control; simply dial down the combustion rate to non-lethal power levels, and use it as a pain ray

Nurgling Chieftain
25-07-2012, 18:53
The 6th edition rulebook has a meltagun being fired on the cover. Looks like a solid white-ish beam.

Fluxeor
25-07-2012, 23:45
Same with melee weapons really. Out of all the melee weapons in 40k they picked the thunder hammer to be used as a swift assault weapon for jumppack troops. Nice.

Swift? It's a large, slow swinging weapon that does massive damage when it hits. Melee weapons the game does pretty damned well and Ranged are overall decent representations. The Lascannon is the only weapon that can really be complained about and that's purely based on the damage it does rather than its function.

snottlebocket
26-07-2012, 10:34
If you're generating that much heat, there is no way it could stay as a concentrated beam for very long. I think the "shot gun" like effect of a melta is pretty apt, especially against fleshy opponents like orks. However, against a tank, the super heated central beam of the heat cone would be the only part that actually punches through the armor. Light energy from a lascannon would not have the same spread out effect.

The beam itself isn't hot. It's just radiation that heats up anything that it comes into contact with.

ModelCalamity
26-07-2012, 10:48
try this:

step 1: put an egg in the micro wave and switch it on for 10 minutes on max power.
step 2: watch the fire works
step 3: imagine the same effect on someones head but happening in just a fraction of a second.

on hind sight before i get told off again that this is a family oriented forum. And to rob those poor kids off the chance of winning the Darwin award. i have this link here so you can skip step one and two

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ6VmjMg_GA&feature=related

Connor MacLeod
27-07-2012, 23:15
Early edition meltas were basically heat ray microwave guns (whether or not they literally used microwaves is a matter of opinion.) Short ranged area effect beam weapon. sometime around 3rd-4th edition we go tthe 'pyrum petrol' sub molecular blast stuff, which makes them some sort of bizarre cross between a plasma weapon and a flamethrower (although depending on the fluff plasma weapons will also get treated like super soaker flamethrowers as well, so....)

A few sources IIRC depict meltas as superheating/ionizing the air, so you may get some sort of 'plasma' effect from the atmosphere heated up, but I think it depends on author/source.

Colonel Scipio
29-07-2012, 18:02
I think DoW had to put in some kind of animation so people could see the things working, and that's most people's conception of them - some kind of white-hot blast/line, as opposed to the plasma 'bolts' of blue footballs. I myself always saw them as heat-rays off HG Wells' War of the Worlds:


"in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light... it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible, instead of visible, light. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts glass, and when it falls upon water, incontinently that explodes into steam.


Although I'm a big fan of the DoW series, I do think in many ways it's spoiled the imaginative element of 40K by taking away everybody's perceptions. Like seeing the film of a book you like, and having all your mental images of the characters overwritten by actors' faces. IMHO.