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Chicken Walker

Most tanks have tracks, some tanks have legs, while others have many, many legs. These tanks on the other hand, have chicken legs, or as they're officially known as "reverse-joint"note  or digitigrade legs.

Most of the time a Chicken Walker is a Humongous Mecha or Mini-Mecha but occasionally backwards bending legs pop up on cabins or other objects as well. While there may be some benefits to a leg shaped like this, it doesn't overcome the fact that these are inherently funny (though you'll find most, if not all military-themed series will be taking them very seriously).

Also note that chickens don't actually have "backwards knees", because the apparent "knee" is actually their ankle and heel joint (and their "ankle" a knuckle), while their actual knee is much closer to the body (and practically invisible under their coat of feathers). Same goes for horses, and most quadrupeds' hind legs.

Subtrope of Walking Tank; see also Spider Tank.

For other awesome tanks check out Hover Tank, Drill Tank, and the Military Mashup Machine.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • 9 has the self-piloted Steel Behemoths — the Fabrication Machine's primary foot soldiers, who wiped out humanity with their chemical weapons in the film's backstory. None of them are active during the actual events of the movie, though, perhaps due to lack of maintenance — they're only seen sitting dormant in hangars.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars has the AT-ST's and their various derivatives/precursors. In fact, they are often called "Chicken Walkers" by fans.
  • RoboCop has ED-209. Heavily armed, extremely intimidating, can't even walk down a flight of stairs...
    • Or down a street. In the second film one gets stuck in a manhole.

    Live Action TV 
  • From Kamen Rider Faiz, the Side Basher in Battle Mode.
  • The Blue Midget from Red Dwarf was retconned into one of these so they could do a dance number, originally being a tank-like vehicle.
  • Falling Skies: the "meks" of the aliens walk this way, but are weirdly designed.
    • Several characters discuss the possibility that the meks were specifically designed to intimidate humans, as the aliens themselves are six-legged. On the other hand, it could be a purely technical decision. It's not practical to build a large robot with more than 2 legs (4 max).
  • Tweedledee and Tweedledum, from Andromeda.

     Mythology and Folklore 
  • Russian Mythology And Tales
    • Baba Yaga's house moves around on actual giant chicken legs.

     Tabletop RPG 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Sentinels and Warhound Titans for the Imperium, the Eldar Warwalker, etc.
    • The Tau's battlesuits are actually a subversion, in that they are closer in appearance to actual chicken legs than this trope, what with forward bending knees, high ankles, and several widely spaced, broad toes.
  • Roughly half the bipedal BattleMechs are like this, including fan favorites like the Timber Wolf (the signature 'Mech of the franchise and the image used on its Tropes page), Mad Dog, Bushwhacker, and Marauder, the rest using standard humanoid leg structure. Acknowledged by supplemental material by noting that chicken-walkers may traverse rougher terrain but are typically less speedy than man-walkers.

     Video Games 
  • The Gnomes in World of Warcraft have as their racial ground mount the Mechanostrider, a chicken-legged mecha resembling an ostrich or emu.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, the GDI trades its tanks for the Titan, a chicken walker with 120mm cannon. The Firestorm expansion adds the Juggernaut, an artillery variant with triple the firepower that needs to be deployed to fire. They go back to tanks in Command & Conquer 3, but the Steel Talons multiplayer faction keeps the Titan. To drive the point home even more, Juggernauts in CNC 3 occasionally comically peck just like chickens!
  • All of the bipedal Walking Tank-type Metal Gear models (Metal Gears from non-canon spin-offs notwithstanding) followed this design, as did the bipedal mode of the Peace Walker AI Weapon, though the TX-55 Metal Gear and its two derivatives, Metal Gear D and the undeveloped Metal Gear Gustav, do away with the forward-facing knees in favor of backwards-facing ones. The birdlike look is actually lampshaded in the manual, which claims that the small, unmanned Metal Gear Gustavs are nicknamed "Ostriches" by troops because of the way they walk.
  • The Goliath unit in StarCraft.
  • Basically the whole idea of Future Cop: LAPD. Well, that and Flying Cars.
  • The Raptor from the second G-Police game. It had the ability to jump and glide (compared to most of the vehicles being planes, with one example of an armoured car).
  • You can find many of this in Armored Core series. Befitting of a bird-inspired design, they're better in the air.
  • The first boss from Super Meat Boy called Lil' Slugger is one armed with saws and a chainsaw.
  • Biomechanoids from Serious Sam series are like that. Coincidentially, the biological parts of these walkers are bird tissues.
    • There is a Chicken Walker enemy in Serious Sam II, too which is called Torso Mech - The Nervous Chicken.
  • MechWarrior, being based off BattleTech, gets in on this as well with quite a few reverse-joint 'Mechs. The games give some of them a marked hopping-bobbing gait, which can be a bit tough on targeting at times. Chicken walkers in the games typically move faster, but aren't as good at scaling hills or mountains as man-walkers - Mechwarrior Living Legends features the Thanatos, a mech with anatomically-correct chicken-legs, which is very fast for its weight, but has trouble scaling >30% grade hills.
  • In one level of Futurama: The Game, you get to ride in a literal Chicken Rider.
  • A literal one in Donkey Kong Country Returns, which serves as the boss of World 7. And yes, it's piloted by a chicken.
  • In Chrome Hounds, you can build your very own, officially known as reverse-joint chassis. The leg form gives enhanced recoil consumption, making them good for light artillery and sniper mechs.
  • The Flapper species in M.U.L.E.. No surprise, since they are human-sized birds.
  • The Star, Panzerstar and Sturmvogel enemies/boss from Einhänder. Interestingly enough, their names mean "Starling", "Armored Starling" and "Thunderbird" in German, quite meaningful when compared to their bird-like legs.
  • In Mass Effect, a majority of the bipedal aliens you encounter have this leg structure, including turians, salarians, krogan, and quarians. Geth also fit the mecha version of the trope (and in some cases, the Humongous Mecha version), as their bipedal forms are based the physiology of the quarians that created them.
  • All of the mechs of Hawken use this configuration.
  • BioForge: The moonbase security bots.
  • The AG-9 Walker from Walker uses this configuration. It even has very bird-like "feet".
  • Light AFW's from Ring Of Red. One model even looks like a mechanical chicken, with a machine gun for a face.
  • The Mech from Metal Mech: Man & Machine.
  • Eggy, an old Japanese computer game, stars a mecha named Ena that walks like this, though it can hover too.
  • All of the battlewalkers from Battlefield 2142.
  • The final boss from Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos.

     Web Comics 
  • Problem Sleuth's candy mecha is a sentient example. In fact, even after the head is detached so that it can fly off to fight the villain, the legs still are used for various purposes.

     Western Animation 
  • Chaotic featured the Vile Driver card in some episodes.
  • Kim Possible had giant robotic flamingos.
  • Invader Zim once received a MegaDoomer stealth mech due to a shipping error. GIR was fascinated by its legs (see page quote).
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, this is one of Heloise's many machines.

     Real Life 
  • Large Theropods could be considered biological versions of this.

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