Horus Heresy - An Alternative History?
13th Jan, 2010

I was discussing the Horus Heresy over on Dark Reign's forum, when a heresy of my own popped into my head. Instead of the Primarchs betraying the Emperor, what if the Emperor betrayed the Primarchs! In this re-image the betrayed Primarchs would have to fight back with everything they have, seeing as the Emperor is so powerful, and this would drive the Primarchs into the arms of chaos. As they draw heavily on warp energies, in their desperation to survive, they become corrupted. This links into early descriptions of the Primarchs are being 'warp enhanced' (in strength, and special powers). So if they push their abilities, the assumed built in safeguards start to breakdown.

Now all I need is a good rationale as to why the Emperor would betray the Primarchs?

The Emperor is a magnitude of power greater than the Primarchs. The Emperor can see much of the future, and makes some very harsh choices based on what he sees coming down the line. Without detailed explanation others can not hope to understand, and even if explained it may not sit right with someone. This re-image could be quite complex, and perhaps draw upon Earth's religious mythologies and fables and revamp them for a modern audience. The Primarchs would be much more the 'angels who can not disobey', until one does...

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Space Wolf Stuff
26th Nov, 2009

David, from Bolter and Chainsword, asked if I would like to create some Space Wolf accessories for the Space Marine painter. I am a huge fan of this painter app, and if you have not tried it; I strongly recommend you give it a go! I agreed (which was a bit stupid as I have no time - but who does!) and he sent me his template file. Anyway, I had a breathing space and created this prototype wolf pelt;
Wolf Pelt
Nothing fancy, an eye candy filter (animal skin), a bit of burn and dodge tools for a bit of shape, and plenty of stylus jabs. It is not quite a regular wolf as it does have massive paws, it's more like a bear!

I plan to do a few more Space Wolf accessories, and perhaps some other bits and pieces for some of the other Chapters -  the Salamanders and Blood Angels spring to mind. I would like to do a lizard skin cloak or loin cloth, and some Blood Angel fanciness (Greek abs armour, mink lined cloak, various blood drop jewels). I have no idea when I can fit this in, there is no time frame, so do not hold your breath waiting on them!

I'm going to try and slip them in when I can, but they are a low priority (tacked on after all the other projects I'm involved in). It's more me having a bit of fun, and what I create for my own DIY chapters I can share with the rest of our community.

Anyway, we shall see how it all goes, and let me know what you think of the wolf pelt?

More on the 1,000 marines
12th Nov, 2009

I started an discussion over on the Bolter and Chainsword forum that has been fascinating to me. I always enjoy hearing how others interpret the universe of Warhammer 40,000, and this discussion has shown to me how different other's views of the same text can be, and how deep those interpretations can go. I thought I was 100% right, but listening to others I see once again how wonderfully fluid the background really is, and the new ideas other's views bring to the table. I still think I am correct (I would wouldn't I! As I think my view tends more towards the background's ethos and intent, but these other views are very interesting). If you have the time and are a member of Bolter and Chainsword (if not, why not!) why not pop by and chip in your own unique ideas to the thread?

The Thousand Marine Myth - corrections? [since deleted]

Basic argument can be found here

Now 720 Chapters
9th Nov, 2009

The 1000 Chapter Project is advancing and the latest update brings the total number of chapters listed to 720. This many not sound like a huge jump from 600, but Dazzo have cleaned up the list, and removed a fair few chapters. The new list has a lot better, and many of the chapters have Index Astartes (IA) to go with them. This is good new for me as I have now updated the page to match and the popup now all have clickable marines taking you to the represented chapter's IA.

As you can imagine there are 720 links to put in, so I have started a thread over on Bolter and Chainsword to collect up links for DIY chapters. If you have a DIY chapter listed in the Visual Index then head over to Bolter and Chainsword and post your links there. If you are not a member you can post them here, though almost all the DIY Chapters seem to be on Bolter and Chainsword!

1,000 Space Marine Chapters
Bolter and Chainsword Thread

Red Suns
8th Oct, 2009

The Red Suns are a new addition to my DIY Chapters. They are based on Japanese culture and mythology. In essence they are 'Samurai in Space' in the same way Eldar are 'Elves in Space', so there will be a fair bit of twisting of preconceived ideas.

I've tried to get a bit of flavour into the chapter, and reimaged the Japanese culture - I want it to be fun for a Japanese fan too! I suppose I hope it will have a similar effect to how European culture was reimaged in the old PS2 game 'Vagrant Story'. Well there is only one way to find out...

The Red Suns info page

Marine Power Armour Stealth tech
30th Sep, 2009

This has been added to the Tactical Gear page of the main site. It details the marine's steal technologies, both evasion and detection. I wanted to introduce some ideas for tactical options when out in the field, especially is caught in the open. Active camouflage is something modern militaries have been working on for a while, though how useful it would be against IR sensors etc. is debatable (hence I also threw in IR suppression tech.)

Active Camouflage

The armour is covered in coating which adapts its colour to it's surroundings. Depending on the coating types the surface of the armour can alter it's appearance, colour, luminance and reflective properties to allow the marine to blend into his surroundings. The camouflage is used by the marine when out in the open (not within STC like structures/ Ecorium) and allows them to close with enemies that may fee the Emperor's justice.

  • Dark Age technomancy: A mythical cloaking device. A marine wearing this disappears and can not be detected.
  • 'OLED' based AC: The armour is coating in a form if 'organic light emitting diodes' only more complex and technically 'alive'. The armour collects video data of the surroundings an maps it onto the surface of the armour, and can match most luminance levels. It is not perfect, the marines can still be seen, and any movement really gives the game away. If stationary the marine is practically invisible, though 'unnoticeable' would be a better description, especially in complex and detailed environments like jungle or rubble.
  • Pigment based AC: A simpler form of AC similar to 'e-paper'. It lacks luminance, and can not match ambient light levels.
  • None: Some Chapters do not have this function, or refuse to use it. The armour is locked to chapter colours, or painted over.

Some radiation is harder to suppress like infra-red. To deal with this the armour's cooling system is routed through heat exchangers to power up 'Thermoelectric cells'. The takes all heat and converts it to electricity and is mainly a power conservation system. Combined with the ceramite insulation properties of the armour, the conservation system as the side effect of dropping the IR signature of the marine to virtually nil. The marines can still be seen, the outline etc. but they blend in with the background temp perfectly. However if they stand in front of a heat source their body will block it and they can be seen. Positioning is important when utilizing IR 'invisibility'.

Use of this AC function allows marines to suddenly appear from nowhere and get into the thick of melee causing havoc (and uses the local enemy as a 'meat shield'). Once in close the armour flashes to their Chapter colours as they butcher the enemy. If the enemy is ruthless and fires on their own kind in an attempt to kill the marines they find that marines are quite hard to kill and such actions can be detrimental to morale. This 'sneak and explode' style of combat is the hall mark of marines, but they also use sniper tactics and will often take out artillery and other snipers before getting into the thick of it (they do not assume the enemy command will respect the lives of their own side). The marines are less famous for this tactic but only because they are so good at it - as often the enemy has a clue where or who the sniper is.

Eye system

The auto-sense system includes two front mounted (stereoscopic) vid-sensors in the helmet. These sensors are surface mounted into a recesses, so that behind the eye is solid armour. The sensors are linked to the Convent, which in turn is linked directly into the marines's visual cortex. The auto-sense system bypasses the marine's natural eyes. The eye sensor has a number of interesting technologies.

  • Wide spectrum: The sensors can detect a wide spectrum of radiation, including infra-red and ultraviolet (black light). All the information is processed by the Covenet to render the image the marines will see. Often non-visible light is used by the Covenet to figure out what object are, and outline and mark them with icons.
  • Non-stick: The eye lens of the auto-sense system is hydrophobic and naturally resists water, and other fluids. It is a form of non-stick surface, like Polyester (teflon), only better. Fluid and gore may simply not stick and is repelled.
  • Eyelid: In reality the non-stick coating is not 100%, and some sticking occurs; scratches or acid damage would give some purchase. It is almost impossible for the marine to use his armoured gauntlets to wipe his eyes as they are too hard, even the padded grip tips do no yield enough due to their solid backing. To clear the lens of contamination a mechanical lid, made of a tough transparent membrane, is used. It is housed in the upper part of the eye armour.

Trial of Fear - Update
16th Sep, 2009

This has been added to the Space Marine Creation page on the main website. It is a reworking of the trail of fear and incorporates some ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while. I was reminded of it when posting on WarSeer about marines. There are a lot of things that need updating and bring into line with the background (or explaining the loop holes better 😉 )

A full battle brother's blood and bodily fluids contains potent genetic maintenance agents that if ingested by a normal human will alter their genetic structure. This agent is the basis of the marines acidic and poisonous spit, and the ingestion of this is fundamental first step in altering a human into a marine. All chapters require the recruit to drink the blood of the chapter from the chapter's grail. The grail ritual appears in all the chapters, and in all cases it includes the drinking of the blood of full marines and in some cases the blood of the Primarch!

Once these agents are ingested the effects on the body are traumatic and pronounced and many recruits will not survive. The Space Wolves 'Canis Helix' is probably the strongest of these agents and many die in the ice fields of Fenris screaming in pain. The Blood Angel's seems just as virulent and perhaps produce the greatest physical changes, those mutants who survive the blood of Sanguinius, and the sarcophagus, emerge as a vision of their Primarch.

Genetic Alterations: As the agent invades the body now produces a range of hormones and proteins that are mostly completely useless to the normal human body, and in many cases harmful to the human body. As the recruit endures the levels of these new hormones and chemicals rise and induce great pain and madness. The perceptions of the initiate so they see things that aren't there and are prone to suggestion. This is the time when the Chapter moulds the core mind on the future marine. Working with the sickness induced by the new hormones, the initiate is put through the ringer of madness until utterly broken. Then they are rebuilt and taught how focus, how to deal with pain. As they learn these lessons they are injected with geneseeds, which as they grow, the use the hormones and this in turn lifts the madness, restoring metal functioning. The initiate is then thrown into the Trial of Solitude.

Geneseeds: These new proteins and hormones are designed to support and feed 'geneseeds'. Geneseeds cultivated chimera stem cells that under the influence of the new hormones and proteins flourish into new organs that further modify the initiate's body. The geneseeds are invasive and can cannibalise surrounding tissue and convert them, they act like targeted cancer. As geneseeds are added they absorb the new hormones, and they absorb a lot when growing. New geneseeds have to be added at regular intervals to balance the system, and the penultimate geneseed of the Progenoids which regulate the whole system. The Progenoids can not go in until all the other implants are in place.

The first implant results in a major cardiovascular alteration often referred to as 'a second heart' but that is a gross simplification. This is sometime accompanied with corrective surgery, though many Chapters will leave a recruit experiencing complications to die.

Implants: Secondary 'Heart' geneseed implanted, Ossmodula geneseed implanted.

Psalm Verse: Text II

New Project: 1000 Chapters
11th Sep, 2009

Dazzo over on Bolter and Chainsword has been busy pulling together hundreds of images of know chapters, both official Games Workshop chapters and fan made chapters. I had a chat with him, and I put together an visual index of the 600 he has completed so far (and my chapters are in there too!). We are trying to get the word out so others can chip in their ideas and hopefully submit their chapters too (you need a colour scheme image created with the  Bolter and Chainsword Space Marine painter, and a link to an IA). If this is of interest to you, check out the 1000 chapters index on  my site, and the thread on Bolter and Chainsword.

1000 Chapters Index
Bolter and Chainsword Thread

Heavy Bolter / mainsite update
26th Jul, 2009

The Heavy Bolter issued to the Adeptus Astartes uses a larger calibre that their Standard Bolter, has a more powerful kicker charge gyro-jet. It is also fielded using the 'drum box' (see above). It has a slightly lower maximum rate of fire that the Standard Bolter, but due to the greater amounts ammo is more likely to actually be used in full auto (this leads many observers to conclude the Heavy Bolter is faster firing, but it is just the way they are used by marines). The Heavy Bolter is ideal for smashing strong points, buildings and light vehicles. Space Marines make good use of the to rapidly take out hardened positions within STC bunker complexes (Ecorium) or mow down hordes of xenos like 'nids.

Modern Equivalents

There are no directly comparable weapons systems, but the easiest way to figure out it's power is to think of a Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher but using 60-80mm grenades with rocket motors instead of its 40mm. This gives each heavy bolt about ten times the mass of a real 40mm grenade. It can punch through most modern light armour vehicles with ease (kinda like an automatic RPG-7 but far more compact) and clear most rooms in residential buildings with one shot.


The Heavy Bolter is normally issued with modal Bolts much the same as the Standard Bolter. However there are variants that are sometimes employed is specific circumstances, such as single mode thermobaric Bolts. These variants are not common issue as Space Marines like to remain flexible, but some missions do allow for a certain level of predictability.

Thermobaric Bolts are effective against 'nids or Orks on 'paradise worlds', as well as renegade humans inside STC subterranean bunkers (where is consumes massive amounts of oxygen within the confines of the bunker). There are not so effective at penetrating fully armoured targets, or atmospheres/ areas with limited oxygen. totally ineffective in a vacuum.

Plasma Bolts to cut through almost anything, though ceramite armours offer some protection.

This is an update inserted into: Bolter info page

Thunderhawk Aerodynamics (not)
13th Nov, 2008

At the moment it is hard to image that the Thunderhawk could fly. Let alone be an effective aerial combat vehicle considering it's un-aerodynamic 'blocky' style. It looks like it would fly about as well as a brick. And a very big, and heavy, brick at that. Yet it is put forward in the background as being superb at its role. It seems to out perform many a modern day jet fighter (and space shuttles!). This post is my take on the design concept. An attempt to explain away how the Thunderhawk works in principle, and why the STC design is the way it is.

Shields Up!
The Thunderhawk is an aerofoil-proxy design. It uses power-shields (similar in concept the power-canopy for Rogue Trader p.124) to form a proxy aerodynamic surface. This allowed the STC designers to kill two birds with one stone: not only would the shields deflect air and act as a proxy aerodynamic surface - but it would also stop bullets! (and bird strike)

In action: the shield (power-canopy) at the front cuts through the air, and because it's a shield it can be 'razor sharp' and frictionless. At hypersonic speeds this fore shield would create vacuum behind it, with the air rushing in around to contact the flat sides of the Thunderhawk and straight through the engines.

Small arms bullets would also be defected, but as they are heavier than air can't be sucked in as much as air and so wont go though the engines (which is a good thing) and if they are the nature of power-fields (as I describe them would soften the bullet)

Oh, and bird number three to kill: As it is friction less it also makes an excellent heat shield for entering planet's atmosphere from Space. Ideal for orbital drops.

Fat Wings?
Those aren't wings they're anti-gav systems!

The problem with wings is that the need a decent atmosphere to function. On thin atmosphere worlds they're a bit useless especially with a heavy tank that thinks it's bird. Conversely on thick atmosphere worlds; friction is a big problem (not with those shields though!).

Another important point is durability. Renegades and aliens aren't always happy to see Space Marines and have a tendency to open fire on sight. Wings are usually a good thing to shot at. So the Thunderhawk doesn't have wings, but heavily armoured pylons housing anti-gav systems and fat guns on the end.

It's a brick
Bricks fall pretty good; much the same as a Thunderhawk crashing through the atmosphere. Wings are we know them on planes can be a bit weedy and sheer of at hypersonic speeds, so the STC designers wouldn't use them. Bricks hurt if they land on you, planes are a bit light and just burn up on impact with the ground. Whereas a downed Thunderhawk makes a huge hole ("For the Emperor! Even our death will count towards final victory" - some random space marine being well 'ard 😀 )