How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by ShadowCell » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:22 am

Skipping over the part where Aiko there has bought up just about all the real estate to be had in the uncanny valley (that...empty...stare), a robot that is more or less the size of an average human isn't very useful in a discussion about the feasibility of giant robots, what with Aiko not being "giant" and all.

The other problem with hooking up a transforming mecha to someone's brain and expecting it all to go swimmingly is that, uh, humans don't, y'know, transform.

In fact, I seem to recall a 4koma comic about Heero in a mobile trace-equipped Epyon pointing out that very problem...

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by AnimeMun » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:29 am

Thats exactly why I said to ignore the android and look simply at the completely usable robotic prosthetic hand. Which seems to me to have very little downtime. I wouldn't know for sure unless I tried said hand out myself but I can't do that unless I go to Canada, try to find this guy, and ask him to let me take his hand for a test run. I'm not even going to start on this "tongue prosthetic" Because again, no relevance to this subject. I'm just giving examples on how close we are to the tech levels of some of these show. The entire point of this thread.

Sure I've only been touching upon the military applications thus far but the aiko source does bring up an example from a more recent real robot show. Last I checked there were two people with plenty of robotic prosthesis in Gundam 00, Louise and Lichty in particular. That in itself should show that even if we never achieve the use of giant robots, we are extremely close on some of the periphery technologies involved. I guess I just made the "prosthetic tongue" relevant now. *chuckles* Man I should have approached it from this direction in the first place.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by ShadowCell » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:52 am

You are aware that you're talking about giant robots here, right? So I'm not sure what bringing up Project Aiko is supposed to prove. It doesn't really matter if we can possibly build robot prosthetics for humans when we're talking about something much larger than humans (not to mention that it'll run into massive scaling problems).

I really think you should read that thread I linked to earlier.

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by AnimeMun » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:51 pm

Ok, here is the last bit of my argument, after this no matter what the end result I'm through on this one. Am I saying that this tech is 100% practical? Am I saying they WILL happen? No, I don't believe in absolutes, I believe in possibilities and if one is willing to consider such tech a possibility like most real robot creators try to do then more power to them. Which is why on the flipside saying that giant mechs are completely unreasonable and will "never" happen is just as foolish as saying that they will definitely happen and that we need to have them. To support this point of them being plausible and possible I brought up Aiko as one of the periphery developments because more than likely a giant robot's center of gravity is going to be equivalent to a human sized robot's. If a human sized robot can walk and run as efficiently as a human being then its completely possible to replicate that in a 6 story format.

All in all we can't say we know for sure if such concepts would be useful or useless until someone comes up with the actual technology. If it fails to meet usefulness when it works then you can say so. Until that happens this question will keep getting asked again and again until their is solid proof of the argument that its pointless to develop it. I don't remember seeing in that post a bit of hard evidence proving that such developments with giant robots being pointless. Probably because no one has tried to make a working one yet.

EDIT: Before you say "She can't walk though". No she can't, but the mere fact she is at the level she is at means we are getting close to that level of technology. Which I view as the entire point of this thread. Mecha show tech levels don't always contain giant robots, just look at Bubblegum Crisis, thats by all intents and purposes a mecha show and its not giant robots. In addition here is proof that such things are actually being worked on.

http://www.enryu.jp/t52/index.html

http://66.163.168.225/babelfish/transla ... n&.intl=us
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by tehprognoob » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:32 pm

i think general electric actually successfully made a powered combat suit for the US that makes lifting 4000 pounds a piece of a cake. the armor itself, though, was a few thousand pounds itself, so it wasnt very practical. as for mecha-mobile armor transformations, look at macross; use different controls for each mode.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by ShadowCell » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:51 pm

AnimeMun, I'm not sure why you type out these screeds if you refuse to read anyone else's posts.

Here. Click this link and learn why
If a human sized robot can walk and run as efficiently as a human being then its completely possible to replicate that in a 6 story format.
is false.

Then go to this thread, among many others, for why giant robots are and always will be impractical (namely, anything a mecha can do can always be done better by something else, assuming physics does not suddenly change--and, uh, that's probably not gonna happen). There's also this thread (where you can see where the Death Machines came from).

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by AnimeMun » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:37 pm

*sighs* This is why I said the argument is over. No offense to any of you but I doubt any of us have physics degrees, robotics degrees, or anything of the like. Nor is any of the source information given saying "THIS CAN'T HAPPEN" from anyone who can make such a claim and it stick. The sources I've brought forward on relative technologies are all put together by groups of people with these same degrees in robotics, physics, and computer programming.

I know you are a mod here ShadowCell, I respect you for that and for your intensity in this debate. That is why I am asking you for this one thing as end all proof of your point. If you can give me an accredited piece of proof that can hold up as a citeable source in a collegiate graduate's thesis. Sadly posts from this forum and fansites can't count for this one, I want to see a profile attached that gives a summary of the person's experience in the field. I'll shut up on this forever more and bow my head in defeat when seeing this. In absence of such proof I will stand by my argument until such proof comes forward. That is all I have to say. I will be waiting.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by ShadowCell » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:53 pm

First of all, I don't see you posting peer-reviewed articles from scholastic journals, so, uh, protip: you had best actually be on the high road before you try and take the high road.

Anyways, here's where Dr. Michael Fowler of the University of Virginia's Department of Physics tells you all about the problem of scaling. And here's the square-cube law explained, courtesy of Dr. LaBarbera of the University of Chicago (particularly in Session 1, although this article is about giant living things and not giant machines--but if you disagree, you'll have to explain why the square-cube law doesn't apply to artificial constructs). And before you complain that he's a professor of anatomy and biology and not engineering or physics, kindly note his description of his current research, and kindly take a moment to ponder all possible meanings of the phrase "interdisciplinary studies." Here's Wiki's writeup on the subject too, from which you can see I found Dr. LaBarbera there.

Man, and physics is second only to math as my weakest subject. This all dovetails pretty well with Chizumatic's argument, incidentally, which means I'm pretty much just going and filling in the [citation needed] tags. I could do more, but someone else can probably do better than me and, hey, apparently it only takes one.

Next, you have yet to tie any of your "evidence" to what it is you're claiming it supports (and now we're back on my major's turf). The difference between Project Aiko and a giant robot, for example, is flabbergastingly obvious: Aiko is not a giant robot. She is the size of an average human. The problem of scaling does not apply to Aiko because Aiko and a human are the same size. The problem of scaling explicitly refutes your assertion that you can take something like Aiko, make it six stories tall, and have no problems. Your argument rests on the premise that something like a giant robot is possible because if we can make something like Aiko, we can make something like a Six-Story Aiko. And without that premise, your argument collapses, much like Six Story Aiko would.

Additionally, Aiko is notably not built for combat but for peaceful human interaction and normalizing the human relationship to the robot, so she doesn't have to withstand harsh environments or weapon recoil (although that probably won't stop the fetishists). The Land Walker is also fairly irrelevant to the question of the possibility and/or plausibility of technology seen in mecha anime. I mean, you watched those video clips, right? You saw how slowly that thing moved? Sure, it looks cool, but what are you trying to prove by highlighting it?

But I suppose you're shutting up now, so it's a moot point.

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Areku » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:55 pm

AnimeMun, your imagination is respectable, but I get the impression your just aren't paying attention. I'm not trying to put you down; I joined the Navy's nuclear program so that I could one day contribute to the development of technology for manned space exploration, so I'm not one to call someone out for lofty aspirations. I just don't think you're really thinking about what we're trying to communicate to you.

Unless I've missed something, no one's been denying the possibility of creating a functional giant humanoid robot. What we're saying is that it's so impractical that the pursuit of a giant humanoid robot as a machine worthwhile in its own right is misguided. When I say that, you may be reminded of skepticism of the practicality of jet engines in the first third of the 20th century, or of resistance to the development of Alternating Current, but those would be false analogies.

The reason is that any, and I mean any, technological development that would improve the functionality of a giant robot would also improve the functionality of nearly every other type of vehicle humanity has so far imagined. This wasn't the case with certain other technological developments; jet engines operate on a different set of aerodynamic operations than do reciprocating engines, and AC takes advantage of fluctuations in voltage rather than Direct Current's constant voltage.

In those specific examples, the "new" technology took advantage of a new type of behavior, making it behave completely differently from the existing technology. The giant robot, on the other hand, would behave on all the same physical behaviors as existing vehicles, and any new developments (be it new materials, stronger bearings, better power supplies) which would aid the giant robot would also aid existing types of vehicles.

Rather than physical operating principals, the difference between giant robots and other vehicles is form. That's where all of our arguments come in; for reasons that have already been discussed at length, the human form is at a severe disadvantage compared to every other type of vehicle out there. Aside from looking cool and providing entertainment, there just isn't a role where a giant humanoid robot would be able to outperform its conventional competitors. As someone in the military, I can tell you that I sure don't want to work with inferior equipment, and I don't even get shot at on a regular basis. From a commercial standpoint, why would you want to use a less effective or less efficient machine, especially if (as we've noted) it would have a much greater time where it's down for maintenance? Remember: any development that improves a giant robot also improves cars, trucks, helicopters, and planes.

As for your challenge to find an academic claim that giant humanoid robots are comically impractical, I doubt such a forthright claim exists. This isn't because it isn't true, but because of the nature of the academic community. When a scholar, scientist or engineer publishes a finding, they try to make it about something that isn't obvious to everyone else in their field. To anyone who has an academic or professional interest in the viability of a giant humanoid robot, everything that ShadowCell, Kenji and I (as well as many others) have said is self apparent. A professional mathematician doesn't publish a paper stating that 3 * 5 is not 27, an economist doesn't publish a finding which reassures everyone that the Peso is not stronger than the Dollar, and a scientist doesn't publish a paper which claims that the tank isn't about to be antiquated by the Mobile Suit.

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by azrael » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:25 pm

Areku wrote:Unless I've missed something, no one's been denying the possibility of creating a functional giant humanoid robot. What we're saying is that it's so impractical that the pursuit of a giant humanoid robot as a machine worthwhile in its own right is misguided. When I say that, you may be reminded of skepticism of the practicality of jet engines in the first third of the 20th century, or of resistance to the development of Alternating Current, but those would be false analogies. ...
Now when someone can answer the question of "Why...", then perhaps this conversation might go somewhere.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Areku » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:41 pm

azrael wrote:Now when someone can answer the question of "Why...", then perhaps this conversation might go somewhere.
Out of what you quoted, there were a couple of points you may be commenting on. Could you clarify which one?

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by azrael » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:23 pm

Areku wrote:Out of what you quoted, there were a couple of points you may be commenting on. Could you clarify which one?
It's a general statement. "Why" on any aspect of having a giant robot if we can apply it elsewhere.
In those specific examples, the "new" technology took advantage of a new type of behavior, making it behave completely differently from the existing technology. The giant robot, on the other hand, would behave on all the same physical behaviors as existing vehicles, and any new developments (be it new materials, stronger bearings, better power supplies) which would aid the giant robot would also aid existing types of vehicles.
If a giant robot exhibits the behavior of a existing vehicle and any "new" technology would aid an existing technology, why would we need a giant robot then?
Aside from looking cool and providing entertainment, there just isn't a role where a giant humanoid robot would be able to outperform its conventional competitors. As someone in the military, I can tell you that I sure don't want to work with inferior equipment, and I don't even get shot at on a regular basis. From a commercial standpoint, why would you want to use a less effective or less efficient machine, especially if (as we've noted) it would have a much greater time where it's down for maintenance? Remember: any development that improves a giant robot also improves cars, trucks, helicopters, and planes.
So why consider a giant robot when it's conventional competitor out performs it? What benefit would we have if we had giant robots if our current machines are identical to the function of a giant robot?
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by AnimeMun » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:33 pm

ShadowCell wrote:First of all, I don't see you posting peer-reviewed articles from scholastic journals, so, uh, protip: you had best actually be on the high road before you try and take the high road.

Anyways, here's where Dr. Michael Fowler of the University of Virginia's Department of Physics tells you all about the problem of scaling. And here's the square-cube law explained, courtesy of Dr. LaBarbera of the University of Chicago (particularly in Session 1, although this article is about giant living things and not giant machines--but if you disagree, you'll have to explain why the square-cube law doesn't apply to artificial constructs). And before you complain that he's a professor of anatomy and biology and not engineering or physics, kindly note his description of his current research, and kindly take a moment to ponder all possible meanings of the phrase "interdisciplinary studies." Here's Wiki's writeup on the subject too, from which you can see I found Dr. LaBarbera there.

Man, and physics is second only to math as my weakest subject. This all dovetails pretty well with Chizumatic's argument, incidentally, which means I'm pretty much just going and filling in the [citation needed] tags. I could do more, but someone else can probably do better than me and, hey, apparently it only takes one.

Next, you have yet to tie any of your "evidence" to what it is you're claiming it supports (and now we're back on my major's turf). The difference between Project Aiko and a giant robot, for example, is flabbergastingly obvious: Aiko is not a giant robot. She is the size of an average human. The problem of scaling does not apply to Aiko because Aiko and a human are the same size. The problem of scaling explicitly refutes your assertion that you can take something like Aiko, make it six stories tall, and have no problems. Your argument rests on the premise that something like a giant robot is possible because if we can make something like Aiko, we can make something like a Six-Story Aiko. And without that premise, your argument collapses, much like Six Story Aiko would.

Additionally, Aiko is notably not built for combat but for peaceful human interaction and normalizing the human relationship to the robot, so she doesn't have to withstand harsh environments or weapon recoil (although that probably won't stop the fetishists). The Land Walker is also fairly irrelevant to the question of the possibility and/or plausibility of technology seen in mecha anime. I mean, you watched those video clips, right? You saw how slowly that thing moved? Sure, it looks cool, but what are you trying to prove by highlighting it?

But I suppose you're shutting up now, so it's a moot point.
Thank you Shadow. This is exactly what I was hoping for, an undeniable, complete and fully reasoned set of honest proof that no one in this forum could dispute. If I had been the one to come out and say this and bring these artciles to light then more than likely I would be ignored, called a pompus a...well you get the idea. But if I could get a moderator to bring it forward then I can make the completely reasonable and humble suggestion I wish to make right here and now. That this information should probably be put on a sticky to prevent any future flame wars on this subject.

I am sorry if I offended anyone by playing the part of the stubborn fool. I just wanted to make sure all possible information would be brought out by someone who knew best and that this subject could truly be as complete as humanly possible.

Believe it or not I did this to try and help clear up any holes that anyone else might bring up. I again apologize for my blathering and hope that this does tie up ALL the loose ends on the whole subject on the development of giant robots in our universe. Call me underhanded or manipulative if you wish, I just felt we needed something that would qualify once and for all as a definite answer to the question.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Kenji » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:35 pm

Since Project Aiko was brought up, I'd like to mention the significance of that, and it has nothing to do with giant robots.

Let's start with a short history lesson: the European Renaissance. Among the many fields that received a tremendous boost was that of technologies that reduced the need for manual labor. These technologies were developed and implemented for one reason alone: The Black Death had decimated the cheap labor that landowners had relied on for centuries, and there was no ready replacement.

The reason why Japan is pursuing service robotics, and the United States isn't, is because of two practical reasons: 1) The Japanese population is declining, and 2) certain Japanese cultural idiosyncrasies (i.e. xenophobia) prevent them from allowing large immigrations of Chinese or Southeast Asians to make up the difference. This, combined with the Japanese predilection towards the technological, will probably see robots wandering the streets of Tokyo, performing service tasks, within fifty years.

This may even be applied to the Self-Defense Force. However, this doesn't mean we'll see Gundams bearing arms, short of exhibition pieces for the civilian population. Instead, we may see AI-controlled tanks, helicopters, and jets. We may see destroyers staffed by six crewmen, whose main job is to determine the parameters of the mission and keep watch over the machines' operation of the ship. After all, when the hammer falls (and it surely will), nobody wants to be stuck with a bunch of impressive showpieces that can't stand up to a real military.

The U.S. population, meanwhile, is still increasing. We have more bodies than we do service jobs, so we won't see robots taking those over. We use unmanned drones in our military, but that's mostly because an all-volunteer force doesn't have the manpower to cover a jurisdiction that is, effectively, the whole world or absorb the casualties that will inevitably result.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Areku » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:22 pm

Kenji wrote:We may see destroyers staffed by six crewmen, whose main job is to determine the parameters of the mission and keep watch over the machines' operation of the ship.
Probably not within the next 100 years. The U.S. Navy's recent Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) already have a greatly reduced crew, particularly LCS-2 Independence. LCS-2 has a normal crew of just 40, which really does represent a tiny crew for a ship of its size. I've had the pleasure of speaking with one of LCS-2's crew, and he said that with just 40 people onboard, everyone is busy. Everybody spends years learning everyone else' jobs, and even with some convenient new measures that reduce the maintenance load, there's still a lot of work to do for just 40 people. It boils down to an average of 35-40 tons of equipment (not counting the hull) that each person is responsible for, which is a pretty steep workload even before considering battle damage.

The LCS ships are also significantly smaller than modern Destroyers; Japan's current destroyers start at about 3.5 times the displacement of LCS-2 and have a crew of 300. I have a very difficult time imagining a comparable, reliable destroyer with a crew 1/50th the size within the next century.
Kenji wrote:We use unmanned drones in our military, but that's mostly because an all-volunteer force doesn't have the manpower to cover a jurisdiction that is, effectively, the whole world or absorb the casualties that will inevitably result.
Not to mention the fact that drones are much cheaper. I remember reading that upwards of 50% of the empty weight of modern fighters is devoted to protecting and supporting the pilot and providing functions and services to keep the pilot alive. Historically, weight has also been almost directly proportional to the cost of fighters. Mmm, math.

But yeah, overall you're right, I just disagree about your 6-crew destroyers.

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Newtype87 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:59 pm

I actually think that Ptolemy and Ptolemy II were practically the first protagonist Gundam ships to justify how such a small crew can maintain and control the entire ship: they have a literal fleet of artificially-intelligent Haros to maintain the vessel and Gundams. That's probably the only way we'll ever see a destroyer with a crew of six, if most of the crew were robotic. And the Haros and their drone bodies were fairly realistic for the setting: non-humanoid frames that roll under gravity and I think use air jets in zero gee. Ships like the White Base and the Archangel always kind of bugged me because we see them getting jostled and shaken and damaged, and yet this crew of maybe forty or fifty people is able to keep the whole ship going.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Areku » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:45 pm

Yeah, I can definitely see warships with smaller and smaller crews. It's just that for the next century, the smallest crew I can see for a 8,000 ton warship is, eh, about 18. And those 18 people will be very busy. And ships automated to that extent would almost certainly be the exception, not the norm. I mean, LCS-2 has trouble pulling into port with so few people as it is.

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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by tehprognoob » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:13 am

an army of pink haros bouncing along a US super carrier?!
lol.
@Areku
mobile suits can bee good for street-to-street; the word mobile suit literally means a powered, walking suit worn by a soldier. as i mentined bfore, GE already built a prototype. lighten that 4000 pound baby down and youve got a few thousand pounds of pounch, not to mention extra weapons and field radars, walking on 2 feet. a punch from that fist? you dont need an at-4 to break down some walls. wouldnt be larger than 2 meters, allowing for super tall soldier. insides inflatabe for midgets with an itcy trgger fingr. self powered so the weakest marine can run for hours, amd packed woth weapons so the aforementioned marine can bust up a nest of terrrists singlehanded, gundam style. :P
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by Newtype87 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:19 am

tehprognoob wrote:an army of pink haros bouncing along a US super carrier?!
lol.
@Areku
mobile suits can bee good for street-to-street; the word mobile suit literally means a powered, walking suit worn by a soldier. as i mentined bfore, GE already built a prototype. lighten that 4000 pound baby down and youve got a few thousand pounds of pounch, not to mention extra weapons and field radars, walking on 2 feet. a punch from that fist? you dont need an at-4 to break down some walls. wouldnt be larger than 2 meters, allowing for super tall soldier. insides inflatabe for midgets with an itcy trgger fingr. self powered so the weakest marine can run for hours, amd packed woth weapons so the aforementioned marine can bust up a nest of terrrists singlehanded, gundam style. :P
Yeah, but that's powered armor. And while we are working on that, I think we're at least ten years away from a true combat model. And I doubt we'll ever get to something a War Machine-like level of weapons tech. And a suit of powered armor makes far more sense than a mobile suit, due to their significantly smaller size and greater usability compared to an eighteen meter tall giant robot.

Actually, aside from the lack of proper face cover, the powered armors of Red Eyes seem relatively realistic: heavy weapons suits equivalent to marines with heavy armor, but they still need to avoid being hit by heavy weapons and they can only do rocket jumps.
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Re: How far away are we from Mecha Show Tech Levels?

Post by ShadowCell » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:33 am

Already addressed in this thread. tl;dr, it won't be as agile as a human, its weapons payload will be limited, it won't be armored enough to take the same punishment as a tank, and whatever technological advances it brings to the battlefield can be more easily and cheaply applied to conventional vehicles and tactics.

Even more problematic, street to street fighting favors the guys who are lugging around RPGs over the guys wearing powered armor or shuffling around in Land Walkers. The guys lugging the RPGs can use cover and move to different positions far more effectively to flank or get behind the powered armor guys or the Land Walkers, and neither will have enough armor to survive a hit (and if they did, they would be too heavy to move in the first place).

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