Space Marine

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 😀 )

Respect mah authoritah!
8th Nov, 2008

The Imperium is made up of several powerful allied factions: The Armies of Terra (Earth), the Adeptus Mechanicus and their armies (Mars), the Inquisition (Terra), each of the Space Marine chapters (Various worlds) and the Grey Knights (Titan) to name but a few. Each a virtual self-contained autonomous empire in their own right, so how do they interact?

This musing of mine is about the protocols for cooperation between the factions. What is the process that allows one faction to become part of another's chain of command? How is the authority established for joint ventures if each is independent and actively protects and enforces its autonomy? How can it be implemented at the local level, when most humans on many a world have never seen an actual 'Space Marine'? Most only know of them as mythical angels of half-forgotten legends. Or to really push out the boat to make the point, we must consider the shadowy and obsessively secret order the 'inquisitors'. How does a secret organisation assume authority if no one knows about them, or have no idea what an Inquisitor seal is, or how to verify any Inquisitional credentials???

How does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction yet rIn practical terms, how does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction, such as the Adeptus Arbites, yet remain 'secret' and not alert those they hunt to their presence?

The idea I come up with is to assign a 'second'; a liaison officer between the The idea I come up with is to assign a 'second'; a liaison officer between the perceived interloping 'allies' and the main body they are interacting with. This allows the force to isolate the influence of the ally through the liaison officer, giving the actual orders to the force's troops.

Space Marines

How this works with Space Marines interacting with the Imperial Guard; the Marine command requests a liaison officer. The Imperial Guard command then assigns a liaison offer to the Marine force. This liaison officer, with a rank as agreed in treaties, grants the Marines the authority equal to the liaison officer's rank. The Marines then use the liaison officer's rank to give commands; the liaison officer is as a proxy. The liaison officer only has to confirm the arrangement with other Imperial Guard officers and units in the field. Once the authority is verified, and the new chain of command established, the liaison can step back. This way, the IG officer in the field knows the orders to obey the Marines is authentic as it came from their own command (and no judgement calls are needed). Even if the Imperial Guard unit has no idea what a Marine is, they know their own officers, and it's the officer that tells the rank and file.

Once set up the Space Marines can now order Imperial Guard units about the place, through the power of the liaison officer, with an effective rank of the liaison officer. This also means that a liaison officer can override Marine orders (though upsetting the marines in battle is not a good idea, and they may dismiss the liaison officer and act unilaterally!).

The great thing about this is that when the Imperial Guard see the liaison officer, they recognise them instantly and accept their authority. It's the liaison officer that vouches for the marines. Without this setup, there could be issues. The Imperial Guard troopers, without confirmation from their own command, could refuse to take an order from a Marine (in battle this may be a stretch, considering how awesome Marines are) as they do not recognise the authority of the marine - which is technically correct as the Marines are not part of the chain of command of the Imperial Guard (none of them wants to be shot by a Commissioner!).

In action, I would imagine that the liaison officer acts more as C&C in the field of battle rather than following the marines about (and if they do, they'll hang back).

I also imagine that the marines may take temporary campaign markings on leg armour and such. Markings similar to tanks (as Marines are like mini-one-man-tanks!)

More on Space Marines


This is where it gets fun as the Inquisitor does not have to proclaim they are an inquisitor merely a 'special investigator' or some other cover. The liaison officer assigned to them for official business does not have to be told who the Inquisitor really is, all that matters is that someone high up in the world's local government has cleared them for access at the highest level possible.

All the people of the world deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that All the people of a given world will deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that supplies the 'recognisable authority' to local populous, and provides the units for back up. The inquisitor does not have to show a badge of office; the liaison officer, and the associated unit (Arbites, PDF etc.) is their 'badge of office'.

No enemy or chaos minion is alerted to the presence of the Inquisition. The existence of the Inquisition is neither confirmed or denied. As far as the records show, the Inquisitor was never there, and the operations were all carried out by local units.

This means that all orders for assistance in the field go up through the Inquisitor's chain of command (reports going with it) to the appropriate level (highest level if needs be) and then jumps over to the appropriate level in the chain of command of the faction the Inquisition is dealing with.

The Imperium is not noted for its speed, and this system can cause problems. If an Inquisitor suddenly turns up, without any groundwork and has not been assigned a liaison officer, and demands to requisition a starship from the navy; it can take time. The navy officer does not have to comply (they wouldn't comply under this system) but instead waits for order from their own chain of command to cooperate, and to what level. About all the Inquisitor can do when they show up, and if they want to keep their identity secret, is claim a form of 'diplomatic immunity'. Perhaps provide some codes (probably handled like nuke launch codes) in some form of passport (which does not identify them as an Inquisitor but a noble or some other high-ranking cover).

If a liaison officer from the navy is already in place; the Inquisitor can assume command of any ship, up to the rank of the liaison officer. If the Inquisitor needs more power; they can request it from their own command structure, which works out the details with the navy, who then issues the command.

All nice and neat, and also allows the Inquisition's command and control to keep an eye on their inquisitors!

More on The Inquisition

Best wishes,

1000 marines?
5th Oct, 2008

There has always been a lot of debate about the accuracy of the 1,000 marine limit per codex chapter. As the logic goes; If there are 10 companies of 100 marines, which is 1,000,  then how can there be a limit of 1,000 if the Companies' Captains, Apothecaries, Chaplins, Standard Bearers, or the Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Senior Officers and the mighty Chapter Master have not been counted yet?

It seems to all come down the scout company not being countered towards the 1,000 marine limit. Space Wolves aside, is seems that Scouts are definitely not full space marines and are still regarded as Neophytes.

"As the Neophyte nears the end of his training, but before he can become a full battle brother, he is inducted into the Scout Company to earn the right to wear blessed power armour and demonstrate in the fires of battle that he is ready for the final stage of his transformation – the implantation of the Black Carapace"

Codex Space Marines page 11

"Once a warrior has proved his courage in the Scout Company, he is elevated to the rank of battle brother and inducted into one of the Chapter’s Battle Companies"

Codex Space Marines page 12

As to limits, it’s never specific. True, at first look, 10 companies of 100 troops make a thousand, but this does not include all the Company's Captain, Apothecary, Chaplin, Standard Bearer, or the Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Chapter Master and Senior Officers. This would be far more than 1,000 Space marines per chapter.


Maybe it’s all down to some strange quirk of fate: that the 9 full battle brother companies (excluding the scouts), plus the veteran sergeants from the Scout Company (seeing as the Vets are full Space Marines), Captains, Apothecaries, Chaplins, Standard Bearers, Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Chapter Master and Senior Officers also just happen to come to around 1,000. If this is the case, then there are indeed 1,000 Space Marines per Chapter, but the Scouts are not counted.

It should be noted that in all the pilots (inc. Thunderhawk) and vehicle crews may come form the 6th,7th,8th, and 9th companies providing 'support' to the other Chapters. They may not be extra marines.

All this confusion is a simple misunderstanding, at seeing the 10 companies/ 100 troops per company and taking that as the thousand without digging any deeper.

Well that my reasoning, and it seems to fit the facts 😉

780lbs Marines
15th Jun, 2008

I used Shaq as a base because he's 7'6" and this made it easy to scale the body mass up to a marine's proportions. Basically a marine is about one and half times as broad as Shaq. I did this to match the Jes Goodwin diagram of the marine (when scaled to fit 7'6" rather than 7'). Obviously just making Shaq one and half times as broad without modifying the depth would make the marine a bit flat, so I also multiplied his depth by one and half to match. This gives quite a solid body mass but without being too crazy, in many ways it's similar to a 'stocky' build only larger.

To work out the weight of this marine I multiplied 350lbs (Shaq) by 1.5 for breadth to give 525lbs, and then multiplied 525lbs by 1.5 for depth to give 787.5 which I rounded up to 780lbs. This means a marine made of muscle and bone with a density similar to Shaq is 780lbs. This is quite massive for a human, as humans never actually have a body type, with these proportions, at this scale.

Looking at the marine he may look a bit bulky compared to many a comic book hero, as we are used to seeing a certain hero type of figure, it is easy to assume this type of marine he is slow. However, considering the cross section of bone and limb he is probably surprising quick (considering preconceptions) for such a mass. Combined with the extreme skeletal modifications they may also have increased strength due to better skeletal leverage (like a chimp or gorilla is very strong for their mass). These marine could pack quite a wallop - like charging Rhino!

At 780lbs, increased skeletal leverage and strength boosting power armour it is easy to see how a marine can lift a large adult male by the throat with one hand. It's easy to see how they can crush skulls, not because of hand waving, but through sheer power.

Space Marine Morphology


Musings on marine martial arts
30th Mar, 2008

Image if you will, a marine is in combat without weapons against a skilled unarmed opponent. The closest target area in relation to the arms is the opponent's guard. The Marine ignores the head an body and grabs the guard. In this case the opponent's arms (it could be a spear etc. or any hand weapon held in a guard that is outstretched to the front).

The marine grabs the opponent's arm (snatch, slightly circular punch with open hand), and while most skilled opponent shouldn't have any trouble getting out of a grab, this poor fellow finds the marine is too strong (plus the armoured gauntlets) and they can't twist out of it, the marine's thumb is not weak point in their grip, and the opponent is held fast. (a regular human can use the same tactic but they have to move in while their opponent is defeating their grab, as most human aren't strong enough to maintain an outstretched grab hold around the arm)

The marine crushes the arm in the grab, snapping bones and pulls the (out of range (head/ body)) opponent towards them for a finisher. The marine isn't chasing after their opponents, instead the marines snatch what comes close and drags their opponent to them.

In comparison to a striking style, and in single combat, this is no more difficult than punching at a guard (the most commonly known use I imagine is boxing). Swap the punch impact for an open hand grab. A quick snatch.

When the marine is facing  multiple combatants, the same thing applies; snatch and pull. The marine draws people to them to be destroyed. This also deals with over-commitment problem as the arm is much faster and quicker to recover than the whole body - a fast deadly opponent (Eldar/ Nid) is going to find it harder to catch the marine over-balanced. I think marines are very good at retaining their balance (for their size they know it would be a weakness) and rarely overreach or chase their opponents.

As to other techniques used to speed up the butchery, a marine could literally grab the arm, force the person down and knee them in the face or body (about the right (optimal) height considering the difference in size). A bit comical imagining them 'marching' through a crowd like this, but considering their armour it wouldn't be a problem. Using one arm means they can still hold their weapon.

This grab and pull would, as I mentioned earlier, defeat many conventional hand weapons; from two handed swords (with guards such of the plough or ox) and spears, to single handed weapons and shields. It is the marines grip that is deadly, and just like a medieval gauntlet they can grab a 'live' blade with their power gauntlets and not care. They can use one arm to deflect high one handed mace blows and the other to grab their shield and pull the bearer down (the Bolter is heavily armoured and could act as a shield of a sorts). Marines are hand grapple fighters, and this is how I imagine the Techno-Barbarians (makes me think of techno music and barbarians all freaking out at a rave!) of ancient Terra used to fight with their powered torsos - the forerunner of the Mark 1 'Thunder Armour' used by the first marines. A legacy I image would carry over to current marine close combat systems.

In general terms the snatch and grab means no second chances for the opponent to recover. I see marines as being all about the business and they wouldn't waste their strength advantage in combat. It also allows them to grab weapons and turn them on the bearer, in many ways the marines do not need to carry hand weapons into combat because the enemy will supply the levers (weapon) of their own destruction. A weapon is just a way for a marine to get to a person quicker (if the opponent is stupid enough to hang on). Kinda like combat fishing.

I think it is very interesting inventing combat arts for the marine. I believe it's a good idea to draw inspiration from many of the current arts, but not limited by them: think of the possibilities!