Melta Weapons are a type of thermal weapon that make use of a sub-atomic reaction in a chemical fuel source to produce a tightly-focused beam of intense, searing heat. The Imperial Meltagun and Multi-Melta (also known as "Cookers" or "Vape Guns"), as well as the grenade-like Melta Bomb, are formidable directed energy weapons.
Melta Weapons have a short range but are very powerful and their thermal blast's intensity increases as the distance to the target decreases. A Meltagun works by inducing a minute, sub-molecular reaction within a highly-pressurised pyrum-petrol fuel mix located within an ammunition canister, and then projecting the resulting plasma through the canister and from the weapon's barrel as a blast of incredible heat.
Melta usage is accompanied by a distinctive hissing sound as the beam boils away the water in the air, then a roaring blast as the beam reduces the target to charred scraps or molten slag. Meltas are the premier anti-armour weapons, and few if any armoured vehicles can withstand their power. Meltas are also a useful alternative to Plasma Weapons for this anti-armour role, as though they generally possess a shorter range, they are a more reliable technology than most Imperial Plasma Weapons, which often injure their users.
The heavy weapon known as the Multi-Melta resembles two Meltaguns fused together, with thermal beams that coalesce into a single powerful beam with a longer effective range than their smaller cousins. However, the increased size, weight and power requirements of the Multi-Melta mean that it is no longer man-portable by conventional human infantry.
The very rare pistol variant of the Meltagun known as an Inferno Pistol can vaporise foes of any kind with ease. Lord Commander Dante, the Chapter Master of the Blood Angels Space Marines, is the most notable of the few users of the Inferno Pistol in the Imperium, though among the Blood Angels the weapon is called the Infernus Pistol. Inferno Pistols are also favoured weapons, when available, of the Acolytes and Inquisitors of the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus and its militant arm, the Sisters of Battle.
The Melta Bomb is a somewhat different application of the same technological principles. The reactive fusion fuel in a Melta Bomb has already been hyper-condensed and is no less devastating, designed to consume itself in a single burst of energy.
The casings of Melta Bombs are usually designed with magnetic or molecular bonding mechanisms, allowing them to be clamped onto large targets such as vehicles or monstrous creatures. The surface contact detonation inflicts tremendous damage, easily turning even heavy armour plate into white-hot slag in a matter of moments.
Imperial Melta Weapons
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 Pattern was developed.
Though it still uses specialized gases melded and ignited into a sub-molecular thermal state, this weapon features a longer barrel with a radiation beam surrounding the gaseous discharge. This low-level radiation 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 solar many hours of difficult correction after prolonged use still stand by the weapon. Almost no Imperial fighting units still utilise them despite the superior range, and their manufacture ceased after the first production run. Now prized as trophy weapons, some still see use as part of elite mercenary groups or Inquisitorial Kill-teams. This weapon may be equipped with any type of Meltagun canister ammunition.
The Meltagun, also called a "Fusion Gun," "Melter," or "Cooker," is a powerful, short-range anti-armour weapon that produces an intense, energetic beam of heat in the tens of thousands of degrees Centigrade. The Melta Gun is used by the Space Marines, the troops of the Astra Militarum and other military forces of the Imperium of Man such as the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas.
The Multi-Melta is a heavier version of the standard Imperial Meltagun, usually designed to project its intense blast from two closely-mated barrels. The Multi-Melta is also known, like other Melta Weapons, as a "Cooker" or "Vape Gun" and is a formidable anti-personnel and anti-armour weapon. Compared to other anti-tank heavy weapons in a similar size class, a Multi-Melta has a relatively short range but is very potent, and penetrates armour more deeply the closer it is when fired at a target.
The Melta Bomb is used by infantry in close combat, and is clamped directly onto vehicle hulls, or the surface of enemy bunkers, or even onto monstrous creatures such as the largest Tyranid bioforms. They are lethally effective against even heavily armoured units, as the intense directional blast of heat produced by the Melta reaction can burn its way through an armoured hull in a matter of seconds.
The Colossus Bomb is a Melta-based guided bomb that weighs 10,000 kilograms and is used by the Imperial Navy on the Marauder Colossus for high-altitude tactical attacks on heavily fortified enemy positions and fortified structures such as bunkers and more extensive subterranean facilities.
An Inferno Pistol, also called an Infernus Pistol amongst the Space Marines of the Blood Angels Chapter, is a small hand-held Melta Weapon that has an overall effective range that is only about 25% that of its counterparts, the Meltagun and the Multi-Melta. These rare and often exquisitely-crafted pistols are capable of cutting through almost any known type of armour.
A Magna-Melta is a heavy, vehicle-mounted, short-ranged, area-effect heat cannon. Magna-Meltas were originally designed for space assault craft to enable them to turn a large cubic volume of starship hull-plating into liquid slag. A weapon of this magnitutde's effects on less durable targets such as main battle tanks and living matter are simply catastrophic. The aptitude for use of this powerful weapon was not lost on the Tech-priests of Mars, who soon began mounting the Magna-Melta upon the turrets of Infernus Pattern Deimos Predators. This ancient pattern of Predator has now largely been replaced by the Land Raider Redeemer in many Space Marine Chapters.
Hunting Lance (Melta-Tip)
A Hunting Lance is a one-handed, single-use melee weapon used exclusively by the Rough Rider mounted cavalry units of the Imperial Guard. This weapon is constructed of a hollow, lightweight metal shaft tipped with a spear point, which is also connected to the impact fuse of the weapon's shaped charge. Most enemies would not expect that their heavy vehicles would be targeted by traditional cavalry, giving an edge to Rough Rider squads equipped with Melta-tipped Hunting Lances. Nevertheless, making a frontal charge against enemy armour is dangerous at best, and regiments that employ Melta Tips have a reputation for reckless behaviour and suicide missions. While incredibly devastating to armoured targets, Melta Tips are extremely heavy, and while this is not a problem when used against tanks or fortifications, they are ill-suited to use against smaller or more agile targets.
A Melta Cannon is an Imperial Plasma Weapon that makes use of a miniature fusion reaction to produce a blast of intense, searing heat. This weapon system is commonly mounted on Reaver-class and Warlord-class Battle Titans, but also can be mounted on the carapace hardpoints of a massive Imperator-class Titan. A smaller version of this weapon system is also mounted upon the Devil Dog variant of the Hellhound.
Utilised by the forces of the Imperial Navy, Melta Torpedoes are even more feared by starship captains than standard torpedoes. Mercifully rare and extremely brutal, melta warheads detonate a precisely-organised series of melta charges upon impact with a target, burning through hull plating and consuming sections of the vessel's interior in a roiling conflagration. When used in orbital bombardment against planetary surfaces, they are equally capable of penetrating heavily fortified structures and incinerating the occupants and contents.
Melta Missiles are missiles fired from a Salvo Launcher whose warhead contains a massive Melta charge, similar to a Melta Bomb in effect that produces an intense, searing blast of heat that can rip through armour and fortified positions alike.
Pyros Melta Cannon
These squat, oversized, and highly insulated Macrocannons are designed specifically to fire shells tipped with powerful melta-charges that detonate with furious heat against the hulls of enemy voidships.
Aeldari Melta Weapons
A Firepike is a variant of the Fusion Gun used only by Aeldari Fire Dragons Exarchs. These weapons are sophisticated Melta Weapons marked by a distinctive long barrel that can project its deadly Melta beam a considerable distance further than the standard Fusion Gun.
These potent weapons pre-date the existence of the Imperium of Man, having been created by Aeldari artisans long millennia ago. Operating similarly to most Melta Weapons, Firepikes project a lance of intense heat and radiation over a considerable distance that is capable of melting flesh and steel and carving through the toughest armour with deadly precision. Rare even amongst the arsenals of the Craftworld Aeldari, they are most often borne by the mightiest champions of their kind, relic weapons beyond contemporary means to reproduce even for the Craftworlds.
The Aeldari possess an unsurpassed mastery of thermal weapons, and take savage delight in the devastation they create. They utilise a deadly Melta Weapon known as a Fusion Gun, a weapon that is unique to the Aspect Warriors known as Fire Dragons amongst the Aeldari. Though it can only be used at short range, it possesses a sophisticated targetting system, as befits high status troops like Aspect Warriors. Like most Aeldari technology, the weapon is psychically activated, its resonant Wraithbone construction being sensitive to the Aeldari's innately psychic mind. A Fire Dragons' Fusion Gun is linked to its targetter via its handle.
Necron Melta Weapons
A Heat Ray is a Necron weapon mounted upon the enormous mechanical spiders known as Triarch Stalkers. These deadly weapons are capable of anti-tank and anti-infantry modes of fire. The Heat Ray can be fired in either a focussed or dispersed beam.
Tau Melta Weapons
A Fusion Blaster is a short-ranged Tau Melta Weapon capable of reducing even the most heavily armoured vehicles and fortifications to slag in the blink of an eye with its nuclear fusion-powered blast. The Fusion Blaster is most commonly utilised as a weapon system on Battlesuits. The Fusion Blaster is similar both technologically and tactically to an Imperial Meltagun, albeit it possesses a longer range and is most commonly employed by more mobile units.
A Fusion Cannon is a Tau version of a Melta Weapon, and fires blasts of energy produced by a nuclear fusion reaction which can reduce even the most heavily armoured vehicles or fortifications to slag in the blink of an eye. The Fusion Cannon is essentially a larger version of a Battlesuit-mounted Fusion Blaster. The Fusion Cannon has an extended range compared to a Fusion Blaster, and a larger blast radius that allows its fire to destroy closely packed groups of enemy vehicles and heavy infantry. Hammerhead gunships are the only Tau unit armed with Fusion Cannons, as they can be mounted as a twin-linked primary turret weapon system in place of a more common Railgun or Ion Cannon.
A Fusion Cascade is an experimental variant of a Tau Fusion Blaster designed for use as a weapon system on the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit. It sacrifices damage for rate of fire, with each burst unleashed by the weapon consisting of multiple shots. This means that despite each charge being less powerful than an equivalent Imperial Melta Weapon of similar size, the Fusion Cascade can overwhelm its target through sheer weight of fire and is still able to reduce even the most heavily armoured vehicles or fortifications to slag in the blink of an eye.
The Fusion Collider employs sub-atomic particle agitation to superheat the physical matter of its targets in a small area of effect, vaporising living creatures and turning armoured vehicles into molten slag. It has been developed to fire completely silently, making it a perfect accompanying weapon for the stealth-oriented XV95 Battlesuit.
The Fusion Eradicator was designed as a radical solution to the limitations of current Tau Fusion Weapons technology. The Fusion Eradicator combines a battery of multiple synchronised firing chambers that can create blasts of energy so potent that any 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. 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. Currently this weapon can only be found deployed on KX139 Ta'unar Supremacy Armour, serving as its arm weapons.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 157
- Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pp. 41, 67
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 57, 59
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 82-83
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 14, 16
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 32, 57, 62
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pp. 10, 20
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pp. 9, 23, 37, 40, 74
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition) pg. 39
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 98-99, 101
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 59
- Codex: Tau Empire (7th Edition), pp. 117
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Editon), pg. 26
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 21
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 115
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 134
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 148
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 135
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy Betrayal - Book One (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 239
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pg. 234
- Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition) - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 144
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 158, 162, 173, 190
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pg. 136
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pg. 95
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 60, 94, 112, 128
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 94, 108, 119
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 101
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pg. 58
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pg. 8
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm - The Explorer's Handbook (RPG), pp. 114, 158
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 122-123
- Specialist Games Catalogue, pg. 107
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 122
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 39, 55, 57
- Warhammer Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 157
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (4th Edition), pp. 4, 9
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (2nd Edition), pp. 26, 41
- White Dwarf 173 (US), "Eldar Pheonix Lords", pp. 6-9
- White Dwarf 127 (US), "Eldar" by Rick Priestley, Jes Goodwin, William King & Lindsey D. Le Doux Paton, pp. 13-52
- White Dwarf Weekly Magazine #89 (10 Oct. 2015) " XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit", pp. 8-9
- Battlefleet Gothic: Special Torpedo Types in Battlefleet Gothic Article by Andy Chambers
- Deimos Pattern Predator Infernus
- Forge World - Fusion Eradicator
- Forge World - KX139 Ta'unar Supremacy Armour Experimental Datasheet