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EDIT: Thanks so much to those who pointed out the crazy "cat-assisted" typo :) Edited some of the other details too while I was at it. I haven't gotten round to reading all your comments but so far I love reading all your ideas and your 40k fan feedback (and some wicked story ideas to boot)! Thanks especially to the fans for tolerating and even encouraging my heretical ideas :p

I've always wondered what it would be like if the Imperial Guard managed to develop a relatively cheaper, weaker but still highly effective multi-role version of the Space Marine armour, and mass produced it. :)

Within this fantasy of mine, I thought that maybe on the further reaches of Imperium space, a different prototype pattern of power armour would be developed to

a) vastly boost the current performance and survivability levels of conventional IG frontline troops, with a focus on armour/gear modularity, especially commonality between parts so cannibalising for repairs while in the field is easy, and requisitioning spare parts out of field are also cost effective and hassle free.

b) Offer an extended lifetime of service to the Emperor for troops that have been crippled in battle. The IG Tactica armour would be able to accomodate amputees via a electronic gel interface membrane, without need to surgically graft the user to the armour. The armour can also switch to an autonomous combat mode should the wearer be killed, and the onboard tactical AI still functioning, in order to continue the fight.

Another feature of the armour pattern is an integrated second AI and servitor arm system inbuilt into the backpack. This both helps with load-bearing, combat multitasking and construction labour. Each soldier could thus effectively perform the role of a combat engineer, medic and stormtrooper all in one.

And no need for commissars to keep the troops in line, when you have an onboard AI that would gladly take over the reins!

Also for fun, I redesigned the Bolter somewhat so it would have, to my mind, a more straightforward layout and construction. At least the chamber, ejection port and barrel line up :x (That's been bugging me for years.)

Google Sketchup + Photoshop
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Abominable! Intelligence! in the guard Purge! the regiment and the Magos who made this Hersey! (Replace the A.I. with servitors or cogitators then they may just be requisitioned.)