|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Brief||Complex forging and heat treatments make this the strongest metal known to man.|
An excerpt from a technical briefing prepared for the Shogunate Edit
“Our researchers have completed a preliminary investigation of the metal sample that came to our university department after being sold to us by a Saudi Arabian merchant. Initial petrographical analysis showed the material to be little more than ordinary steel. However, mechanical testing of the material proved otherwise.
The sample broke two of the most powerful tensile testing machines here at the University of Sapporo. We were not able to measure the tensile strength of the metal until we could send it to the far larger testing facility in Tokyo.
And all this from a sample the thickness of a pencil! We were able to discover more about the metal by examining it with a nano-scale microscope. We should be thankful that none of the Allied or Soviet gaijin knows of this metal, or we would be facing vehicles and vessels of near invincibility!
The material appears to be an advanced “metal-matrix composite”. A normal composite material is simply a mat of fibres (normally glass or carbon) suspended in a polymer based resin. Such a material combines the strength of the fibrous material, with the lightness of the resin, to make a strong yet light material.
The sample provided replaces the fibres with ordered arrays of high strength nano-tubes and nano-wires, and the resin with a high quality, defect free, steel. Such a material is beyond even our own nano-steel in terms of strength, yet unlike our own nano-structured alloys, this metal bears none of the tell-tales of normal nano-assembly!
It appears to have been made with nothing more than a series of complex and intricate forging, processing and heat treatment stages. Our current theory is that the steel is somehow created by producing a tough but brittle high carbon steel, then treating the material in such a way as to cause some of the carbon to precipitate out of solid solution in the primary steel matrix, and crystallize as perfectly ordered nano-structures.
For our entire faculty with nanotechnology, our best scientists were unable to determine how this might be achieved, or how such a material might be stabilized. It would take many years, if not decades, of concentrated research effort to determine how to understand this metallurgy, but given enough time and resources, I believe we may be able to recreate this material for our own uses."
Signed – Dr Mitsutaki Fuginawa
Head of Materials Research
University of Sapporo
Shortly after the completion of this report, Dr Fuginawa’s team was killed in a freak laboratory fire. The samples in question were never recovered.
Talon Steel is one of the Order’s most closely guarded secrets, its complete forging known only to a handful of the most senior craftsmen. Originally believed to be inspired by divine intervention and still poorly understood to the majority of Order members, Talon Steel was first created centuries ago, and has remained the same ever since. So ritualised is the creation of this metal that every crucible of molten steel must be blessed before it can be cast and forged, and even the slightest of imperfections in the material can means weeks or even months of remaking. The metal’s extreme strength, durability, and relative lightness is what gives Talon units their unholy levels of survivability.
Indeed, Talon Steel is the single greatest asset in the Talon's arsenal. Without it, the Talon would be hopelessly outclassed by modern armies, with it, the Talon are a force to be reckoned with. Talon Steel makes armoured units difficult to destroy, even with modern explosives and shaped charges. Boilers made of Talon Steel can be run at fantastically high temperatures and pressures, allowing the Order's steam engines to keep up with more modern vehicles. Buildings using Talon Steel in their framework are nearly impervious to enemy sieges and (in modern times) artillery fire.
Talon clockwork would run down in seconds, were it not for the fact that a spring made of Talon Steel can be wound to incredible tensions without breaking. The miracle alloy also has an extremely high melting point, a property that allows the Talon to operate their flamethrowers at incredibly high temperatures, without the weapon muzzles melting off.
Unfortunately, the metal is abominably expensive to forge, and it requires years of smithy experience before a craftsman can even begin to work the metal. Perhaps worse of all, despite advancements in metalworking the forging of Talon Steel is so complicated and temperamental that most forging has to be done using the same techniques used more than five centuries ago to properly create it, preventing attempts to streamline or speed up the process. This means it is rare for more than one and half inches to be placed on the Order's Crusader vehicles, although some of their more advanced vehicles such as the Crawler, Eden Superheavy Track, Cataphract Land Ironclad and Lazarus Air Dreadnought can afford to use up to three inches, and in the case of the Master Crawlers and the Eden, four inches, making them among the most armoured vehicles in the world.
Behind the Scenes Edit
- Talon Steel was supposedly, vaguely inspired by the real world material "Damascus Steel", a type of steel made hundreds of years ago, of which the production method has had been lost for centuries. Although strong, Damascus Steel is still far less strong than Talon Steel is made out to be.
- Metal matrix composites, as described above, are a real class of material used in a variety of applications. Sadly, they are still not as strong as Talon Steel.