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Tank-Tread Mecha

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Please, pay no attention to its machinegun placement.
The opposite of the Walking Tank. While the aforementioned trope pertains to vehicles with legs in place of treads, this one pertains to mechas with treads in place of legs, basically a tank with arms instead of a tank with legs.

Mechas of this category are usually depicted as being able to carry heavier loads (thus enabling them to equip bigger armaments or several standard sized ones) and run a bit faster than legged mechas but perform poorly on rough, uneven terrains (such as mountains and forests) and are less agile at close quarters combat. Due to this, tank tread mechas are usually assigned to support and artillery roles, providing indirect and long range fire support for the more agile legged mechas at the front. Outside of military usage, tank tread mechas are often found at construction sites, warehouses, and mines, acting as multipurpose work vehicles. Complete with modular arm attachments. Bonus points if it has more than two arms for maximum multitasking.

If they are Transforming Mechas, then one of their configurations or Partial Transformations should invoke this trope. This is often depicted with their legs folding aside to make way for the tank threads that will replace them. Sometimes the legs themselves transform into the tank platform with each leg opening up and deploying the tank treads. Other more elaborate and creative transformations exists besides these. When used on Combining Mechas the legged mecha usually merges with an accompanying support vehicle or other mecha(s) to turn into a giant mobile fortress.

Tank tread mechas are most prevalent in Real Robot stories due to their practicality in design, though tank tread mechs in Super Robot stories are not unheard of, especially so in older shows. Sometimes it's one of the mecha's transformation modes which exchanges its legged form's agility, dexterity and maneuverability for speed, stability, and lower profile. In real life it would be problematic to stick a humanoid upper body onto a tracked fighting vehicle, since that would add a lot of weight compared to a normal tank turret, and also be a bigger, higher target requiring more frontal armor. Crew survivability could be improved by having the cockpit down inside the tracked hull instead of the robotic upper part. As with Walking Tanks, these mechas would probably serve better as workhorses than as fighters.

Not to be confused with a legged mecha who have tank treads on their feet and use them like motorized rollerblades on a human or one riding a tank like a mount or vehicle. The key idea here is mechas that propel themselves on tank treads due to the lack of legs. It also doesn't have to be exclusively tank treads; It can also be half-tracks, wheels or even train wheels on railroad tracks. Regular tanks with at least two prominent arm attachments mounted on their swivelling turrets are also considered. The trope is not exclusive to mechas either; some robots and even cyborgs have invoked this trope before as well.

Compare Centaurs (humanoid upper body, quadruped lower body) and Hover Mecha (same principle but with hover or booster technology). Contrast Walking Tank, Chicken Walker and Spider Tank.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Brave Command Dagwon Power Dagwon transforms from an excavation vehicle, with the lower frame and treads becoming its legs. It can also assume a Partial Transformation where the legs remain untransformed.
  • Getter Robo: Most Getter Robos have this as their third, least-used form:
    • The original "Getter 3" formation consists of the Bear and Eagle jets combining into a crude humanoid torso mounted on top of the Jaguar (which sprouts tank treads). It's the Mighty Glacier of Getter's forms, outfitted with extending arms (which its pilot uses for judo throws) and two large missiles, and is also the best adapted to underwater combat.
    • Averted by Getter Robo G's equivalent to the Getter 3 form, "Getter Poseidon", which is fully humanoid.
    • Getter Robo Go's third form "Getter Gai" combines in the same way as Getter 3 and has a similar "mishmash of reused parts" look, but its lower body is a Drill Tank.
    • Shin Getter Robo makes this form look less like an afterthought, with Shin Getter 3 having a H-shaped, vaguely spider-like lower body - two wheels to the front and two heavy tread sections to the back from which it can unleash a Macross Missile Massacre.
    • Neo Getter Robo (an Alternate Continuity design incorporating elements of both G and Go) looks like a Tank Tread Mecha on stilts - it's humanoid but squat, with massive lower legs that can deploy either tank treads or rocket engines.
    • Getter Robo Hien has a Getter 3 form similar to Shin Getter 3, but blockier and with a second pair of tank treads in place of wheels.
    • Getter Robo Arc's third form, Getter Khan, plays with the theme a bit - it's humanoid but wears spiked treads on its legs and shoulders, which can dock together to transform it into a giant crushing wheel.
  • The Gundam franchise have provided many examples of tank tread mechas.
    • In the Universal Century timeline we have the RX-75-4 Guntank from Mobile Suit Gundam, one of the earliest examples within the franchise. An early prototype for the fully humanoid RX-78-2 Gundam, it proved to be an effective artillery platform in its own right that subsequent successor models and variants were developed ever since. Most notably the RTX-440 Ground Assault Type Guntank, the RMV-1 Guntank II, the F-50D Guntank R-44 (a humanoid with tank treads on its backpack and legs, which can assume this configuration by sitting down) and the D-50C Loto (a predecessor to the R-44). Due to their efficiency they're used as troop transports as much as, if not more than, weapon platforms.
    • In the continuity of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, the predecessor to the Federation's mobile suits was the Guntank Early Type, which was a less complex version of the Guntank and despite its humanoid torso, was considered a main battle tank.
    • During the One Year War the Principality of Zeon recycled their growing number of wrecked Zaku mobile suits and Magella main battle tanks to build the MS-06V Zaku Tank. They proved to be useful in construction work as well as fighting vehicles.
    • Aside from the Zaku Tanks there's the YMT-05 Hildolfr "mobile tank" from Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO. It's a Transforming Mecha that can switch between tank mode and tank tread mecha modes. Despite its size it proved to be quite maneuverable in combat at close range (though it might be because of the pilot's skills) and managed to take on a squad of Federation piloted Zakus on its own despite the fact that its loadout's geared towards long range artillery support.
    • In alternate timelines we have the DT-6800 Daughtress Tank, ZuOOT and GaZuOOT.
  • In One Piece Franky, a Cyborg, can turn his legs into tank treads for faster movement.
  • In the seventh episode of the first season of Ple-Ple-Pleiades~!, a comedic Super-Deformed spinoff of Overlord (2012), local Robot Girl CZ2128 Delta was rebuilt by two of her fellow Pleiades members, Solution Epsilon and Entoma Vasilissa Zeta, with the intent to further strengthen the Great Tomb of Nazarick's defenses. They've replaced her human lower half with a tank platform, a gun mounted on each shoulder, her right forearm with an Arm Cannon and her left forearm with a conical drill and to top it all off, a red super robot style crown was attached on her forehead. Finally, they call her new version "CZ2128 Delta MK-II".

    Comic Books 
  • In Mech Cadet Yu, Mama Tank is a mecha that has tank treads in place of its legs. It lost both legs in battle, and none of the replacement legs took (mechs in this series are alive), so it was fitted with treads and assigned to the Support Corps.
  • In the X-Men franchise there's Bonebreaker; A cyborg with a missing lower half. In its place are a cluster of cybernetics attached on top of a tank platform. Besides the comic books, he has also appeared in X-Men: The Animated Series as well as a few video games such as the Punisher arcade game.
  • The Star Wars (Marvel 1977) story "Droid World" involves a damaged Imperial "warbot" that the Rebels need to retrieve some data from. It's a big cylindrical thing with a tank turret for a head, a pair of enormous clawed arms, and tank treads instead of legs.
  • A few of the non-transforming Cybertronian mutants in Transformers: Timelines and The Transformers (Marvel) are bodies-on-vehicles. Slayride lacks legs, instead moving about on some kind of upright hover platform not too dissimilar to a Dalek. Sawtooth on the other hand is a blatant Shout-Out to Guts-Dozer and Mad Grinder from the Mega Man (Classic) series.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles, during the scene where Mr. Incredible breaks into Syndrome's computer, you can see the different prototypes for the Omnidroid. The Omnidroid v.X1 was designed with treaded locomotion, and the V3 had tri-pedal wheels, before all future designs were created using legs.
  • The titular character of WALL•E. He is a trash compactor robot who runs on tank treads.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Achilles from Robot Jox has a mode where the mecha turns its legs into a tank platform.
  • The HK-Tank Hunter-Killer robots and its subsequent variants and successor models from the Terminator franchise.
  • Johnny 5 and the other S.A.I.N.T.s robots from Short Circuit.
  • It's a slight stretch as the top half is a nearly full-body cyborg rather than a robot, but Mandroid from the '80s movie Eliminators. Mandroid is a laser-toting war robot mounted on tank treads, who has a gadget for all occasions.

  • Aggressor Mark XIX Sapient Tanks from The New Kashubia Series appear to be large-ish slabs of armored metal unless they need magnetic bars to act as treads (which they store within themselves) and arms which are add-ons but are so useful they are quickly becoming standard In-Universe.
  • The children's book-and-tape set based on the above-mentioned Star Wars (Marvel 1977) story "Droid World" again features the tank-like Warbot, this time in nicely painted illustrations rather than just comic book panels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Obwalden Overlord from the BattleBots series reboot's second season is a humanoid robot mounted on a motorized wheeled platform. The upper body itself is about the size and proportion of an average human and the robot overall stands half as tall as one. Each of its anatomically accurate (as the builders of this 'bot states) kevlar-spear-fishing-line-for-muscles arm is remotely controlled by separate individuals via a wearable motion capture device.
  • Kamen Rider Build: One of Build's Super Modes, TankTank, is an exaggerated version of the tank-based powers that he can use as one half of his normal transformations. Among its abilities, it lets him transform his lower body into a tank.
  • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger: The five Guardian Beasts first combine into the "Dino Tanker", forming armour, cannons and tank treads around the Tyrannosaurus beast, before further transforming into the humanoid DaiZyuJin. Likewise for its Foreign Remake Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, with the Megazord's Tank Mode and Battle Mode.
  • In Robot Wars, some of the House Robots are styled with humanoid arms and heads. The strongest example is the Refbot introduced in Series 4, which has a full humanoid torso mounted on a plow-like lower body.
  • A double-length episode of Scrapheap Challenge, the British version of Junkyard Wars, involved making these, using excavators and other construction machines as bases. The result was a vehicle that ran on treads, with movable arms and a built-in flamethrower.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech allows mechs to equip treads on their lower legs. This allows them to use walking/running or tracked movement, the chief advantage of this is that while using the treads they're much more stable over rubble and broken up terrain, though they're not as fast. It also allowed the mech to negate most of the penalties of leg damage as long as both tracks were still intact. The game also features Quadvees, which are quadruped mechs that have tank treads (or in one case wheels) mounted on their legs that they can swap between walking/running mode and driving mode, without the speed penalties that standard tread-mounting mechs have and with a few other bonuses as a tradeoff for a few more limitations.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: Among the "construct grafts" invented by the maug of Acheron are the Rollers - a set of cylinders which replace a creature's legs, granting them increased speed and the ability to crush smaller enemies by moving through their space. In exchange they take a hefty penalty to Climb, Ride and Swim checks, and lose the ability to run.
  • Pathfinder: Iron colossi are a type of colossus — enormous, mythical constructs broadly based on Golems but vastly exceeding them in scale — designed as ultimate siege engines and weapons of war. Like all colossi, iron colossi have an alternate form they can shift into besides their basic humanoid one: in their case, they can turn their legs into spiked caterpillar treads, which nearly doubles their maximum speed, makes them impossible to trip and allows them to trample with impunity over anything in their path.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Khornate Daemon Engine known as the Lord of Skulls is a large war engine consisting of a robotic body mounted on a pair of crushing tracks that is possessed by one of the most powerful of the Blood God's daemonic servants. Worshiped and adored by the followers of Khorne, these brutal war machines mount numerous, powerful weapons and are intended to annihilate the enemy force. The Lord of Skull's larger predecessor, the Lord of Battles, and the daemonic siege tower known as the Death Dealernote  also share this basic design, only with wheels instead of tracks.
    • Some Ork Gargants are fitted with massive track units instead of legs. The technologically limited Feral Orks lack the ability to create proper walking war machines and so their primitive Steam Gargants are moved by means of large, boiler-powered tracks. The mammoth and rare Mega Gargants used by other Ork factions meanwhile are so large and heavy that it would be impossible to build legs strong enough to move them (ironically making them the closest thing to realistic of any faction's Titans).
    • Heavier battle servitors of the Adeptus Mechanicus often take this shape. Their upper body is technically a Cyborg made from a human torso and head, but since the AM shuns the weakness of the flesh and uses servitors mostly for their Wetware CPU anyway, devices like the Kataphron battle servitor are essentially robots with a few pounds of rotting flesh sloughing off of the armored hull.
    • Necron Destroyers are Necron torsos mounted on an antigrav chassis.
  • Rifts has some Magitek mecha in the Coalition War Campaign books in the defence of New Tolkeen, looking like big iron automata. One design definitely does have tractor-like track units.
    • The core book's cyborg and sourcebook's robot creation rules have a variety of final drive options, including various different sized wheels, tracks, floats, hover units...
  • Nuclear Renaissance has some robots left alive; the miniatures range has a tracked lower body option.

  • Destroyer from GoBots has a mid-transformation mode with his legs folded as tank treads. In Challenge Of The Go Bots animated series, he appeared in this mode.
  • In LEGO Mars Mission, the MT-51 Claw-Tank and MT-61 Crystal Reaper are both treaded tank-like vehicles that are also equipped with arms and hands, giving them the appearance of mechs.
  • Revell's Power Lords toy line, designed by Wayne Barlowe, has Beast Machine Warbot. It has a giant robot for its top half, while the bottom is a tank with a pair of missile launchers. Warbot is the only one that truly fits this trope, as the other Beast Machines are actually cyborgs with the top half of giant pro wrestlers or He-Man knockoffs.

    Video Games 
  • The Armored Core series offers players tank legs for building their ACs. They're slow but heavily armored and has more carry weight capacity compared to other leg types.
    • Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: For Answer allow tank legs to store oversized backup weapons like another set of chain guns or bazookas or damn near anything else in the game. Unfortunately, in a game where only speed matters (at least in Armored Core: For Answer), using tanks is usually a good way to get yourself killed.
    • Armored Core V has given this trope a hefty nod with its opening cinematic which shows a tank AC dropped from a transport chopper. It promptly gets shot by a real tank, shrugs off the attack and runs the regular tank over. From a gameplay perspective, tanks are the only weapons that can carry Ready Position weapons (heavy folding weapons that require other AC types to kneel first) and fire them at the same time, while moving. To make matters even better, there are your regular, ultra-heavy super tough and well-armed but slow defense tank builds, and the Fragile Speedster light tank builds, which strip your regular heavy tank of any defense, march into battle with high-maneuver tank tracks, and use exclusively autocannons, which enables them to actually pursue nimbler enemies, subverting the hell out of the "slow but deadly up close" tank image.
  • Brigador: the Brokenheart is a tank built by sticking a Sweetheart mech torso (hence the name) on top of a truck chassis with treads.
  • In Chromehounds, treads were one of the six available movement types - the others being bipedal (manwalker or Chicken Walker), wheeled, hover skirts, and quadrupedal. Treads offered the second highest max weight (below quads), along with good stability, though they are agonizingly slow - only quads were slower.
  • Upon being defeated, Frank Fly of Earth Bound sics his tank-treaded robot Frankystein Mark II on Ness and co. It can only perform physical attacks and one of its attacks, generating a burst of steam, does nothing.
  • The third boss Gustav from Einhänder has triangular tank treads in place of legs. It can also fold itself into said treads and roll around the area.
  • Tank tread mechas and robots have shown up in several installment of the Mega Man franchise:
    • Guts Tank, aka Guts-Dozer, is a boss in MegaMan 2's Wily Castle. He is essentially a giant version of Guts Man from the first Mega Man with his legs replaced with tank treads. A comparatively smaller version appears in later games.
    • The first Dark Man-type boss of Proto Man's Castle stage is similarly a torso on treads. This version of the Dark Man shows up in the background of the Mega Man-themed Marvel vs. Capcom stages.
  • Frobot: Much of the cast are robots who move around on tank treads, including Frobot, his ladybots, and any robot enemy who isn't a turret.
  • The Front Mission series have quite a few examples. Many wanzers (Front Mission's term for their mecha) have normal arms and upper body, while sporting tank-tread-style legs. Notable ones include some variants of the Wildgoat wanzer and the Igel Zwei wanzer.
  • The ninth boss of Chiki Chiki Boys, fought at the bottom of the tower, is a tank-treaded construction robot. It wears a construction helmet and attacks with a pick-axe. If done enough damage, the treads will be destroyed and the robot's upper body will hop around.
  • The fifth Metal Slug game introduces the Slug Gunner; a new variant of the titular Metal Slugs that is a Mini-Mecha instead of a normal tank, complete with arms (one with Gatling Good and another with Pile Bunker). It can retract its legs in order to deploy the treads, making it faster, but limiting its shots' direction (only forward).
  • Red Alert 3: The Futuretank X-1 is a The Terminator Hunter-Killer in all but name, intended in-universe to combine the toughness of Soviet armor with the advanced AI of Imperial warmachines.
  • Mr. Burns' robot suit from The Simpsons Arcade Game extends tank treads as a second form after the first bipedal form receives too much damage.
  • In Smash TV two of its bosses have appeared this way, Mutoid Man and the Evil M.C. Both are giant Meat-Sack Robot humanoid bodies mounted on tank treads.
  • Grounder from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a robotic groundhog with tank treads and drills for hands and nose who prominently featured in Aquatic Ruin Zone. He spends a lot of his time crawling across the ground, changing directions when he comes to a ledge, but he can also sneak up on Sonic and/or Tails by breaking through the walls he hides behind. He was also prominently featured in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon as a member of the Super Special Sonic Search And Smash Squad, retaining most of his design from the game (albeit painted green instead of red), and also having the ability to swap his drills out for whatever he needs for the situation (most commonly, hands to hold things).
  • In the Taz-Mania Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis, the second world takes place in a robot factory, and in the second act, the factory is revealed specifically to make robots with tank-like lower halves and human-like upper halves.
  • Star Fox: Those are present as enemies in the first levels of Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Zero
  • In Metal Max Xeno, the Asura Tank and its variants are gun-toting robotic statues of Asura that have the lower half of their bodies mounted on tank treads.
  • S.L.A.I.: Steel Lancer Arena International features these on American Stars' Hartman-class SV. They have the most armor and weight capacity, but the lowest speed. This is okay, as the Hartman is already a Mighty Glacier and even its fastest available leg parts would result in mediocre speed at best.
  • The second boss of Wrack, Mechron, is a giant mecha with tank treads as it's lower half.

     Web Original 
  • In the Hacksmith video series detailing the De Fictionalization of the Aliens power-loader, it was determined that it would basically have to be built with caterpillar tracks, as working mechanical legs and the Required Secondary Powers nescessary for them to be used safely don't exist yet. The treads (and indeed, the engine for the machine) are provided by a repurposed Bobcat work-vehicle (donated by Caterpillar themselves, along with a few buckets of their official yellow paint).

    Real Life 
  • "The Beetle" was a US Air Force project for servicing nuclear bombers that was essentially a giant radiation proof torso and associated arms mounted on a tank chassis instead of a turret. The project was remarkably successful (there were some problems, but it was thought they could be ironed out easy enough). Unfortunately efforts to make a nuclear powered bomber were remarkably less successful so there was no need for the project to continue. Notably one of the few real life mechas of any description actually constructed before the fictional genre became popular.
  • The Japanese T-52 Enryu rescue robot is one real life example. It's similar in design to a forklift and an excavator but with two hydraulic arms instead.
  • The robots built by MegaBots Inc. are tracked mechs designed to look like a bipedal mech when they expand their legs and "stand".
  • Suidobashi Heavy Industry's Kuratas is a wheeled mech made to look like a quadrupedal one with its 4 wheeled "legs". It can't actually use those legs to walk like an actual quadruped.