Thursday, 18 November 2010

Space Marine Armour Variants - Part 1: Mark IV

I love the history that has been built up over the years to name and explain the evolution of the power armour of the space marines and some of the best miniature sculpts that GW produced in the nineties were produced to illustrate this. Mark IV or Imperial Maximus Armour is one of the most interesting in my opinion due ti the fact that it was intended to be the culmination of the previous types and consolidate their strengths while also making up for their weaknesses. Stalled in production by the Horus Heresy and then hijacked by the traitor legions that overran Mars, the suit ssems to me to hint at the direction in which the Imperium was headed before it was doomed to superstitious stagnation after the Emperor's internment in the Golden Throne.

Although Forge World have recently started making components for some of the early armour variants, it might actually be cheaper to search out these original miniatures on Ebay and other second hand sources. This is due to the fact that they sell for typically sell for under fiver including P&P and the FW components are in excess of\twenty pounds and still require a tactical marine box set to assemble. In addition, these are discontinued miniatures and as such will only appreciate in value, adding to the value of any collection.

The Mark IV sculpts are fantastic miniatures that are a must for any marine collector and in addition represent an alternative type of power armour similar enough to later types to make the inclusion of even a single model in a unit a point of interst.

PS: You may have noticed that part one of this series focusses on Mark IV armour rather than Mark I. This has nothing to do with anything other than my own shambolic organisational skills. But here's a fun game - try to guess which armour type I'll be looking at next!

Space Crusade: Chaos Goes Clank - Part 2

Image property of used under fair usage rules

In the first part of this article I had a look at some of the marines and the weapons from the Space Crusade boardgame and in this part I want to take a moment to mull over the mechanical minions of chaos that populated the game. These were the biggest bad in the chaos player's arsenal in the form of the Dreadnought and the Androids.

The Dreadnoughts were so awesome and scary that they even got their own expansion: "Mission Dreadnought"...or "Missie Durfar" if you lived in the Netherlands and played "Starquest" (the Dutch version of the box seems to be the only one on the net!). The expansion allowed the chaos player to churn out dreadnoughts and androids faster than UK china factories are currently producing tat in anticipation of the upcomming royal wedding.

Now the original Dreadnought was a towering hulk of plastic that sported two heavy weapons and a pair of chained bolters, but then the expansion introduced this monster with a whole extra pair of weapon mounts. In response the marines had access to a tarantula weapon platform, but they must still have been filling their pants looking down the barrels of six weapons.

No amount of desperate rummaging has been able to turn up my own version of the impressive four-armed Dreadnought, so you'll have to make do with the standard version that I painted back when I was at uni in the late 90s.

At the time I painted this I was pulling together a selection of odds and sods to make an Imperial Guard penal legion squad and the Dreadnought got painted in their colour scheme. As far as I'm aware, this design for a dreadnought was only ever used in the Space Crusade game and bizarrely in the epic scale Space Marine game. No other GW dreadnought, chaos or otherwise, that I've seen has been but humanoid in design.

The Android fitted in somewhere as being more deadly than the Orc, but not as scary as the Chaos Space Marines in the game. To me they always seemed to be somewhat like the Fimir in the Hero Quest game, an odd addition to bolster the ranks. Perhaps they were so evil because they violated the taboo in the Imperium about AIs that imitated humanity?

It was only when I was stripping and repainting these miniatures for this article that it struck me they bore a striking resemblance to the Necrons in terms of their poses and design.

I wonder if someone went on a bit of a scavenger hunt when GW was looking for a new 40k race back in the late 90s?

I'll be trying to wrap things up in the last part of this article and have a look at the Chaos Marines, some more of the bad guys and some of the marines themselves.