The Multi-Melta is a heavier version of the standard Imperial Meltagun that is composed of multiple Meltagun 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 weapons in a similar size class, a Multi-Melta has a short range but is very potent, and produces more damage the closer it is used to a target. A Meltagun works by forcing a pyrum fuel mix into a sub-molecular state that is the equivalent of a miniature fusion reaction, and then projecting the fusion energy from the weapon's barrels as a blast of incredible heat.
Depending on the source, this reaction is described as being emitted either as a blinding flash of pure radiant energy, a bright beam of light or simply an invisible beam of intense heat. Targets caught in the beam of a Multi-Melta are simply reduced to charred lumps of steaming, bloody flesh or, if they are armoured vehicles, to melted heaps of ceramite and metal. No form of armour can offer protection from the sheer heat of a Melta Weapon and so a Multi-Melta is especially useful against heavily armoured units, as they melt the target from within the vehicle's hull. Multi-Meltas appear to be composed of an assembly of two Meltagun projectors firing in synchronisation to generate a single beam. Because of its greater power, a Multi-Melta has a longer effective range than a normal Meltagun, though it is still a short-ranged weapon.
Multi-Meltas can be installed as weapons on armoured vehicles, which improves their range to some degree as they are able to draw upon the vehicle's larger power source. The weapon system and power supply for the Multi-Melta is so heavy and bulky that they can only be carried as an infantry-portable weapons by troops with enormous physical strength or with the motive assistance provided by Power Armour. As such, the weapon is only man-portable for Space Marines and the Adepta Sororitas' Sisters of Battle, who mount the weapon's heavy power pack on their backs, integrated with their Power Armour's power source. Multi-Meltas are a weapon only used by the forces of the Imperium of Man.
Known Multi-Melta Patterns
- Firestorm Pattern Multi-Melta - Created millennia ago by a forgotten Deathwatch Techmarine as a field modification of a damaged Maxima Pattern Multi-Melta, Firestorm multi-meltas trade higher energy consumption and shorter range for higher damage yield and the ability to fire short bursts. Although modifications of this kind are typically frowned upon by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Deathwatch Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch have received special dispensation to perform this operation on limited numbers of existing weapons.
- "Foe-smiter" Mark Multi-Melta - The "Foe-smiter" Mark is an ancient pattern of Multi-Melta dating back to the time of the Horus Heresy that is commonly utilised by the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions.
- Maxima Pattern Multi-Melta - The most common pattern of Multi-Melta used by the Imperial forces is the Maxima Pattern Multi-Melta preferred by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. These larger variants of the Meltagun carry more fuel, fire at much longer ranges, and create a larger blast area capable of vaporising several square metres at a time. It also generates much more heat than its smaller cousins, making proximity to the wielder decidedly uncomfortable for those not insulated by Power Armour. A smaller pattern of Multi-Melta is used by the Sisters of Battle and other military forces of the Imperium.
- Mars Pattern Thermal Lance - The Thermal Lance is a rare weapon, nearly as large as a standard Multi-Melta. It fires a more accurate and directed heat beam using a much longer barrel with a more powerful added directional containment field to reduce the beam's dispersal rate and increase its accuracy, at the cost of lowered damage to the target.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 157
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 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: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 101
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 59
- 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 Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 94, 119
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 122-123
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 55, 57
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (4th Edition), pp. 4, 9
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (2nd Edition), pp. 26, 41