A Demi-shell from my Anno Astra setting...
Produced by GKN Defense, the Crucis Demi-shell was hastily designed to meet an urgent Commonwealth MoW requirement. The requirement called for a well-armoured demi-shell with the flexibility to manipulate hand-held weapons with non-standard configurations. Rushed immediately into production with a minimum of field testing, early marks of the Crucis suffered from a number of design faults and drawbacks which overshadowed its solid combat performance. It would take several revisions to correct all these faults before GKN arrived at the definitive version, the FV5087 Crucis Mk.VII. By this time though, it was considered to be growing long in the tooth with the introduction of newer models from rival manufacturers.
The most obvious operational deficiency was the torsos limited degree of traverse at the waist and the main torsos lack of sloped armour. Several solutions were applied, starting with appliqué armour plates and concluding with a new, well-sloped main torso design. This also addressed the limited traverse problem by redesigning the lower torso armour into two separate components. Another defect was in the complicated skirt armour assembly, which was supposed to shift automatically in coordination with upper leg & hip movements. Unfortunately, this did not prove viable in the field, as it required frequent, time-consuming recalibration during each maintenance cycle. Later marks used a more simple arrangement, with the armoured skirts attached to the upper legs instead of the torso. This was done in conjunction with the replacement of a stronger, more heavily armoured pair of legs, as the original design was perceived to lack sufficient protection for the knee- and ankle-joints. The arms were also upgraded, with additional armour and the deletion of the additional joint in the middle of the forearm. While intended to give it greater handling flexibility, these extra joints required more maintenance and limited its ability to use weapons that produced substantial recoil.
Power was originally provided by a series of high-efficiency co-generative turbo-alternators capable of running on a wide variety of hydrocarbons and coupled to the main storage batteries, but this limited its use to oxygen-bearing atmospheres. The air-intake/cooling system for the engines was another issue, as it failed to vent exhaust gasses properly. This gave it a thermal signature that was much hotter than expected. The problems were later resolved at a single fell swoop with the adoption of a modular power plant, using either easily replaceable fuel cells or rechargeable storage batteries.
Depicted is an early production version of the Crucis in service with Hartfords Hawks, a battalion-sized mercenary company operating out of New Manchester. Its multiphase electrochromic paint has been set to display Exhibition Drill colours instead of something more suitable to the battlefield. Its hardpoints are empty and none of its weapons, additional armour or gear have been attached, save for a pair of shoulder-mounted stacked projectile arrays serving as close-in weapon systems covering the frontal arc. The operator wears a soft-armour coverall. Padded, soft-armour leggings and vambraces provide additional limb protection while a rigid cermet cuirass guards the upper torso.
Huzzah, wall of text! Anyways, trying out a new graphics layout. Also, this mecha design is basically my take on 'a 40k Dreadnought suffering from anorexia.' XD