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Deescalating Desolators

My biggest problem with the Primaris range when it first came out, which held me back from making the shift for a long time, was a lack of anti-tank weapons.  At the start, the only thing I seriously considered to be an anti-tank gun, was the lascannons/las-talon on the Repulsor.  The only other options were plasma, and for all that it might have worked in the rules, I really hated the idea of a crowd of Hellblasters hosing a tank to death with hundreds of tiny shots.  It reminds me too much of the Starship Troopers film, which is not the vibe you should be getting from elite Space Marines.  Thank you 10th edition for killing that off, the tyranny of plasma as the uber-weapon is over!

Image Credit: TriStar Pictures, used without permission for illustrative purposes only.

Eventually GW brought out first Phobos Eliminators, then Gravis Eradicators, then a wave of vehicles followed, and the range was filled out quite nicely.  That said, there has always been a gap in the range, that of standard Tacticus armoured marines toting anti-tank weapons.  Look to Charlie’s Scions, which until recently were pure Tacticus, and how hard he’s worked to make the Firestrike Servo-Turret work (Crusade upgrading giving it a relevant movement speed helped a lot).  

As an aside, I’ve always liked missile launchers.  I know mathematically they’re not great (in a previous edition I read that two heavy bolters and two lascannons outperformed four missile launchers at either anti-infantry or anti-tank), but since they are versatile and feel more portable than other infantry-carried heavy weapons, they’ve always felt appropriate to me for Raven Guard.  

So with all that in mind, I was quite excited about the rumours of a new Tacticus squad with missile launchers.  This promised to be everything I’d wanted from the beginning.  Never trust in rumours kids.  I mean, this time they were right, but…  this is what we got:

Image Credit: Games Workshop, used without permission for illustrative purposes only.

I’m not going to bother to point out everything I don’t like about the way they look, it’s been done.  Suffice simply to say I’m not a fan.  But I did really want the unit, so I spent a while working out how I would make my own.  It was actually Charlie who settled it for me, he spoke about the limited ammo capacity and how it would make more sense to have missiles fired in from off the table.  Now obviously GW are about selling models, so they would never produce a unit where a major part of it simply isn’t represented by a model on the table, but the idea really appealed to me.

How perfectly Raven Guard!  A sneaky support unit of Marines that use laser designators to guide in fire missions from supporting aircraft.  Since the unit comes with them, I reasoned that also having their small indirect missile weapons made sense so they could provide some support fire of their own when there were no aircraft nearby also made sense.  As I wondered about how best to model these, I eventually came full circle back to the original models themselves.  If I removed everything I didn’t like about them, that left me with a laser designator and small rocket pod.  Perfect!

The main missiles take zero effort, just don’t glue them on.  The ammo feed for the castellan launcher required a little more effort.  First I cut the feed chute off the body for the weapon, but that leave a small slot that needed to be filled.  For the first go I used green-stuff, but it was a tricky angle to use a file to get a smooth finish, so for the rest I just used a small rectangle of plasticard to cover the gap.  Much easier and looks fine.  Not putting the big ammo hopper on the back does leave a weird dent in the armour, so I covered them with old large pouches from Firstborn marines. 

Pouches cover many sins, ask Rob Liefeld

Plasticard on the left, green stuff on the right

The Sergeant is slightly special, since he comes with a targeter and his main weapon is another indirect weapon.  To represent that I gave him an old beakie helmet with a targeter built in, and the Intercessor computer arm thing, which he uses to call in a bombardment on something that might be out of his line of sight.  

Sergeant Kyorn

Obviously I play with the wonderful Bunkerites, so the lack of rockets is not an issue, but it did occur to me that some people might complain that it’s not clear which rocket type they’re using.  For me it will always be the super-krak, that’s the gap in my army they’re filling, but if an opponent did whinge about it, and for some reason simply not playing with them wasn’t an option, the original rocket pods will just drop right on, so you can quickly convert them to WYSIWYG.  

Why now?

These boys have been on my table for a while, so why paint them right now?  10th edition of course!  The change to Toughness values was, as mentioned at the start, a breath of fresh air for me.  No more plasma as the uber-weapon.  But once the datacards rolled out I released it left me in a bit of a bind.  My Raven Guard relied very heavily on Melta as my anti-tank weapon of choice (great option when you can ambush people at close range) and suddenly I found I had no anti-tank weapons better than S9.  

Out with the old...

Conveniently my wife went on holiday for a week and I spent that time feverishly reliving my teen years of being cloistered in my hobby space emerging only for bodily requirements for caffeine, food and using the toilet (well, ok, not quite, I’m a real adult with a job, a cat to feed and an understanding of personal hygiene).

... and in with the new

The Storm Speeder Thunderstrike is particularly important here, firstly because I can play AC/DC’s Thunderstruck whenever it gets a kill, but also because it gives out +1 to Wound, which makes all the S9 weapons above far more relevant.  But my favourite is the Gladiator Lancer.  I've been meaning to get one since they came out.  If Raven Guard are going to have a tank, then an air-droppable sniper tanks is going to be the one.  

Happy tank killing, friends.


  1. This conversions look really nice, their weapon actually looks the right size by 40k standard. The sarge remind me of Rogue Trader-era orbital liaison specialist calling down orbital barrage.

    Having not really played/followed 40k seriously since I stopped reading BOLS a few years ago, are the pre-Primaris Space Marines still of interest or are they going to be phased out?

    Anyway, really enjoy how the Bunker navigate playing with new editions while keeping you own way of doing things

    1. That is a hotly debated question. From what we've heard, the pre-Primaris Space Marines (also called "Firstborn") won't be phased out as long as the models still sell. That said, some of the kits (presumably that aren't selling well) have been cut this edition and aren't on sale or in the standard rules anymore. Generally Primaris just look better, the proportions are better, the poses are better and the detail are better, so I've switched over to only using Primaris and a few aricraft that aren't noticably not Primaris.

  2. You've managed to turn my most hated unit of recent times into something I'd put on the battlefield. BRAVO! No more Nerf guns.

    1. Thank you, that was pretty much how I felt too.

  3. Gigantic improvement, and the Ravens are a good look for them too with the tacti-cool look of the rifle/targeter blending in nicely. (seriously, that is just a bolter without a magazine...)

    You could put the missiles they are issued with for the particular game on a base, as a sort of "rack of missiles targeted by the guys" , but really that would only be for a-holes that can not accept the "lack of WYSIWYG."

    1. Yeah, I love a bit of tacti-cool on the Raven Gaurd.

      One could also argue that the choice of super-krak missiles is visually demonstrated by the choice of the targetter on the backpack, as the smaller less stupid looking one I used happens to be the one for the super-krak.

    2. "smaller and less stupid looking" is always a good choice, although hard with GW's design sometimes!


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