This article was written with particular vehicle miniatures in mind. The author uses the old scale Heavy Gear walker miniatures as Combat Walkers for Stargrunt in the 25mm scale. They are just the right size for a single-pilot vehicle. These miniatures often have weapons and equipment outside the main armour, either held in one of the "hands" or strapped to the back, mounted on a shoulder or leg, etc. The style is very common to combat walkers as depicted in "Anime" style art, and as such is applicable to a wider range of models and miniatures than those produced by Dream Pod 9 for Heavy Gear.
Combat Walkers have several advantages in their design. Perhaps the main advantage is the ability to carry greater firepower than a conventional armoured vehicle of similar size, because the mounting and aiming mechanisms (their arms) are part of the basic vehicle structure and because the weapons are carried outside the main hull. In some cases, the weapons are interchangeable, and the Walker pilot can choose from several different weapons, with the "arms" grasping the required weapon from a rack or mount on the back or leg. The main drawback to this design methodology is that the exposed weapon systems are more likely to suffer damage in combat than equivalent systems on more conventional armoured vehicles.
To simulate this in game terms, when a Combat Walker suffers a non-penetrating hit, as per the standard non-penetrating hit rules a d6 is rolled. On a roll of 1, the exposed weapons take some damage, and on a roll of 5 or 6, the vehicle suffers a Systems hit (Systems hit results as per the SG rule book).
For an exposed weapon hit, randomly determine which of the Walker's weapons has been damaged, and that weapon is rendered inoperable for the rest of the battle. In most cases, the weapon is simply taken out of action, but certain weapon systems, due to the highly explosive nature of their ammunition, are prone to secondary explosions. Two examples of this are the Automatic Grenade Launcher and the Vehicle Mounted Flame Thrower.
Vehicle Mounted Flame Thrower
Vehicle flame throwers on walkers have vulnerable fuel tanks, which can explode spectacularly if damaged. If the flame thrower is damaged (as per the random weapon determination discussed above), roll a further d6. On a 1 through 3 (50% chance) the fuel explodes. The vehicle is covered with burning fuel, and will automatically suffer a secondary hit on the Walker with d10 impact. Roll the d10 impact vs. the Walker's armour as per a normal hit. Also, the area around the vehicle may be set on fire (as per the SG rule book). If there are infantry in close proximity (within 2") to the exploding weapon, they will also take a hit, as if hit by a heavy flamer. This will cause d10 impact hits to each figure affected by the explosion, and will also cause morale effects as normal for flamers.
For further details about these weapons, see our Heavy Flame Thrower article.
Vehicle Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher
When a Vehicle Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher is damaged (as per the random weapon determination discussed above), roll a further d6. The ammunition will "cook off" on a d6 roll of 1 or 2, causing a secondary hit on the Walker doing d8x2 impact. Roll the d8x2 impact vs. the Walker's armour as per a normal hit.