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References to an “Ion Furnace” came in the 2000AD supplements which dealt with the Darkest Suns (see below).

From 2000AD Havok Supplement

The very description Ion Furnace conjures up an image in my mind, of a heat device which emits high energy particles in the form of a beam which can be concentrated and cause devastation to opposition armies.

I experimented with a number of Designs but binned them all as I wasn’t satisfied with what had evolved. I finally came across an 8-wheeled vehicle which I thought had distinct possibilities as a chassis. It took the form of a “Tank” which could transform itself into a Robot.It had a small gearbox, a battery compartment, miniature lamps, an electronic sound unit all for £4.99! The majority of these components I wouldn’t need as I only wanted the shell,but they would certainly add to my “bits box”.

The Item as originally purchased

The Ion Furnace Chassis "out of the box"

Transfers were removed, as were all the internal electronics and “works” as mentioned above.

I already had some ideas as to what would serve as the Furnace itself, as from my previous Designs I had glued one half of a Dino Egg to a Cycle reflector to represent the Ion Plasma Furnace itself and I was quite satisfied with that. Others will of course have their own ideas in this regard. I glued this to the rear of this vehicle and painted the front in the colours of the Karn Red and Purple to match the Battleform and the Banshee. The main body of the vehicle was left as it was, since it was complementary to the armour colour of the Darkest Suns. Below is the result, which I don’t think looks too bad…….

Ion Furnace with a squad of Darkest Suns

Karn Furnace Team

Mode of Operation[]

The Ion Furnace is a high energy particle accelerator. Atoms are stripped of their electrons and the resulting heavy Ions are accelerated inside a Torus (Do-nut shaped unit), called a “Purger Combustion Unit”. The Ions are contained by a series of powerful magnets around the rim. At these fantastic speeds the Ions take the form of a high temperature plasma. The plasma is then routed to the beam dish mounted on the vehicle still contained by powerful magnets, This causes the beam dish to glow. The unit is now said to be “primed”. At a given command, the base ring on the beam dish is then given a positive charge the degree of charge corresponding to the range required.

At this exact moment the positively charged Ions are repelled by the positive charge on the base ring, and a series of Hot Plasma rings are ejected from the beam dish. The Ions having a finite mass are gravitationally attracted to earth and dependent on the initial positive charge on the base ring this equates to range. The result is that a high energy plasma beam is fired out at the front of the unit.

Troops directly under the blast template whether they are enemy or friendly are annihilated instantly – no saving throws! Troops, enemy or friendly, positioned within two inches of the circumference of the Blast Template must make a saving throw in the conventional way.

One can see that the Ion furnace does not differentiate between enemy and friendly Troops, so great care must be taken in it’s operation. After firing, the Blast Template is left in position for the remainder of this Battleturn and the next. The ground is impassable by any Troops except flying troops (Borkians, Glaive Riders, Air Vehicles etc.).

Vehicles directly under the blast template must make a saving throw in the conventional manner, Troops inside the vehicle must each make a saving throw and be removed from the game if they fail. Vehicles outside of the footprint of the Template are not hit.

It can also be seen that although the Ion Furnace is primarily an offensive weapon it can be used to protect friendly troops from attack by placing a temporary impassable boundary between them and the attackers.

The Purger Combustion Unit or Torus

The 3 inch diameter Blast Template

The Circular blast Template can be any Template 3” in diameter, mine was taken from a Dr Who range of models – SS Pentallion,but obviously any Template would do.

The Ion Furnace, before priming

The Ion Furnace, after priming

Movement Rules[]

Firstly the Ion Furnace is moved and turned to align itself with it’s target along its centre line The Ion Furnace can use its 1 unit of movement to move and align itself with it’s target in accordance with the Standard Movement and Turning rules. ( One half movement (Speed) for up to 90 deg of turn, one movement (Speed) for up to 180 deg).

Priming and Firing Rules[]

The Ion Furnace utilises the existing Normal Dice and Combat Dice to function. However this is a very technical piece of equipment run under software control and we all know what that means! I resisted the temptation to use dice with arrows on to simulate inaccuracies as I feel that even in the late 20th Century we could aim weapons accurately. Indeed smart weapons can be launched against very small targets with an astonishing degree of accuracy. However software can be problematic and very small mismatches in the machine timing cycles (admittedly sometimes caused as a result of hardware manufacturing tolerances), which drive all software can cause unforseen “glitches” causing problems such as “hanging up” which require reset. With this in mind the following operation of the Ion Furnace is proposed:

Establishing Range: Roll a normal Dice the following Rules apply:

On a Roll of 1 or 2 The unit is set to fire at short Range at any target up to one-half a Combat Rule length.
On a Roll of 3 or 4 The unit is set to fire at Short and Medium Range,at any target up to one Combat Rule length.
On a Roll of 5 or 6 The unit is set to fire at Short, Medium and Long Range, at any target up to two Combat Rule lengths.
The actual range is left to the discretion of the Commander but must be within the limitations set above.

Priming and Firing: Roll 3 Combat dice, the following Rules apply:

Any dice showing an explosion means the device has successfully primed and the blast Template can be placed in accordance with the restrictions above.
If no dice shows an explosion, then the device has failed to prime and the turn ends with the Battlecard being turned over. The only exception to this is if 3 skulls are rolled, in this single case the 3 dice can be re-rolled and if an explosion is rolled then the device has primed late and the Blast Template can still be placed. If another 3 skulls are rolled there must be another re-roll.

Placing the Blast Template:

Once Priming has been successful, the Blast Template MUST then be placed. The example below shows the options available to the commander on differing Range Rolls:

The Ion Furnace erupts into life and a number of Kinsmen perish

The Karn Commander has Rolled a 5 so has a choice of any position for the Blast Template up to a maximum of Long Range. He rolls 3 Combat dice and hopes for an explosion which he gets.

He places the Blast Template directly on the line of fire to cover 6 of the Nexus Kinsmen. These Troops are removed from play.The other 4 Kinsmen must each Roll a normal dice and equal or get below their armour value to survive. The Blast Template will remain in play for the remainder of this Battleturn and for the duration of the next to indicate impassable ground to ground forces.The Battlecard is shown below. Note that only an estimate is given for Firepower as the vehicle does not fire conventionally.

Range Examples

Ion Furnace Battlecard (Front)

Ion Furnace Battlecard (Rear)

Hengist 09:50, December 12, 2009 (UTC)