The HCM-7E Castigator is an old mech given new life through numerous upgrades. Instead of developing a completely new mech, the HCM-7 frame was chosen due to it's structural soundness and ruggedness. It contains so many upgrades that older pilots need to be retrained.
Upgrades include better and thicker armor, improved structural integrity, new hydraulic systems, updated sensors, better communications, flares, floodlights, a new reactor, and completely new weaponry.
The origional "A" model was introduced late during the war that founded the Eye of Dawn. The "E" model continues its legacy of power and durability.
The durability was best shown during the battle of Installation Delta IV. As part of the opening moves, saboteurs replaced the lubricant with an abrasive powder, hoping to disable it and prevent it from being present at the battle. Unfortunately for them, the mech was there and crushed their attack. The only result of the powder was "sluggish performance".
The mech remains superior to its contemporaries. The upgrades continue to keep it on top of the competition.
The HCM-7E is unusual in that it has two powerplants. A powerful V8 diesel powers the legs while a reactor powers the head. This eliminated the need for hoses connecting the two, but is bulky.
The diesel is EMP resistant and radiation free, plus it's mechanical linkup to the legs is simpler than with a reactor. It frees up the mechs reactor to power the railgun full-time. The heat sink is on the back of the mech.
Among the new sensors are the AMP 360-degree viewing sensor and two powerful EagleEye 8 sensors for targeting purposes.
The mech contains two Class-1 AIs. They are capable of logical thought creation, complex problem solving, an encyclopedic knowledge of the mech and its systems, and limited creativity. They each have their own personality; many pilots become very attached to their mechs because of them. They act as copilots, giving advice, and can take full control of the mech.
The HCM-7E is capable of global communication, and ia able to contact artillary sattelites. They can also communicate smoothly and coordinate with other units and allow the commanders to direct them based on real-time information.
The heat sink for the reactor is protected by armor because it is one of the only heat signatures the mech gives off.
The diesel's heat signature and fumes are completely eliminated by its exhaust covering.
The badges identify this mech as belonging to the 75th armored group, among the most successful in the Dawn Forge. Enemies seeing this badge are severely demoralized.
The leg badges.
The flares were added to ward off newer missils, augmenting the already-strong composite armor.
The front is defended by a 20mm AC-245 quadmount. It is the primary infantry defence, and has a large field of fire in front of the mech.
The HCM-7E has two large racks of CM-3 missiles. These missiles are fast and devastating, and perform well against all targets. They allow the mech to perform without air cover, and can smash heavy tanks with relative ease. The HCM-7E carries a total of 64 of these missiles (two in each tube).
The main weapon is the 110mm C-27 cannon. It has a firing rate of 30 rpm (one round every two seconds) and can mow through infantry and armor alike.
The cannon can fire three types of rounds: high explosive, discarding sabot penatrators, and canister "grapeshot" rounds. Many pilots slew all three together in the same belt.
The 500-round ammo belt is located under the armored box for protection.
The recoil control system is a block of lead.
The most powerful weapon is the EMC-2 8cm railgun. It fires tungsten slugs at mach 9. It is powerful enough to damage any target on the battlefield, even fortified bunkers. It's main drawback is its 35-second charge time, which isn't suited for fast-paced fighting.
The reacter devotes 92% of its power to the railgun, which uses massive quantities of energy for its capacitors, located in the back of the weapon. Reserve capacitors are located in the mech's body, but don't perform as well due to to the distance from the weapon.
The sensor on the side monitors the barrel monitors heat and rail wear, and corrects the charging sequence accordingly.
The railgun is also capable of overcharged shots, which are able to shoot down sattelites and penetrate down into underground shelters, at the cost of massive strain on the mech and the weapon.
The legs emphasize armor over speed.
*A big shoutout goes to Danny Morgan for letting me borrow the ammo belt technique. Another shoutout goes to Brian Kescenovitz for the joint technique.
Fourth Wall Commentary:
Whew! Finally got this up! I tried to add accent stripes on this one. It origionally was built right after I posted the ICM-23 Viper II, but was left to "simmer" while I ironed out the details.