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Primaris Whirlwind Conversion

This brief post is about how to get a Whirlwind that looks at home in an army of Primaris Space Marines.  I'm not the first person to do this, but I am now a person who's done it, so here you are.

The Whirlwind tank has had a long career in the Space Marines range, and while its effectiveness has varied over the last 30+ years, I've always liked the idea of an elite infantry army being supported by self-propelled light artillery. It fills a niche in the roster that no other Astartes unit quite fulfills.

Besides, I'm playing Space Romans. Having a space catapult is a good addition to the Bit.

Hoverwind? No. Hmm. Flywind? No. Wait... Floaty McFloatface?

While I love the Rhino chassis, it doesn't make much sense to use a tracked vehicle when all my other tanks are grav tanks able to handle any terrain. Enter the Gladiator chassis. With a pair of storm bolters on the sponsons, you don't even have to fudge legal weapon options. Better yet, the Primaris range's turret rings are a consistent size, and the Hammerfall Bunker has big missile pods. There's just one problem: on the bunker, the lip of the turret ring protrudes from the bunker itself, rather than dropping down from the underside of the turret like it does on every other Primaris kit. No idea why. But this does mean some extra work is required.

Gubbins in the turret ring

I used spare bitz (in this case, the surplus heavy flamers from the bunker kit plus sprue and chunks of plasticard) to build out the turret ring, checking it fits in the bunker while also preventing the turret sliding around too much when sitting atop a tank hull.

My plan here was to add a weapon option to my Gladiator Lancer, which already pulls double duty as an Impulsor. This means I can still use this turret with the Hammerfall Bunker it's meant to go on. This, of course, meant painting the rest of the f---ing owl.

Blue Beard Bunker Bunker

The Hammerfall Bunker is a hilarious unit right now, thanks to the ditching of vehicle weapon facing rules during the transition from Warhammer 40K's seventh to its eighth editions. Consequently a model with eight heavy bolters strapped to it gets... six shots. Sure. Cool. Its giant missiles also have the same stat line as two marines from a Desolation Squad, which is really entertaining given the size difference.

And yet, I really wanted one in my army.

In case you're wondering why, and you probably aren't, it's for two reasons. The first ties into one of the Cobalt Scions' doctrine that logistics are boring but war-winning. The Scions can't lay claim to being ultimate ninja warriors like the Raven Guard, or master artisans like the Salamanders, but boy oh boy do they love surplus manufacturing capacity.

Now of course the Codex Astartes places fairly strict limits on how big a Chapter's allowed to get, so when the Chapter's armoury is fully stocked, it's time to produce surplus gear that doesn't involve more actual Space Marines. After all, a Hammerfall Bunker is just an automated orbit-launchable drop defence with a servitor crew. Technically speaking, it's all Codex compliant. See? It says so, right there, in the small print, that we actually read.

I imagine the Scions build loads of these things, and once good drop sites have been established, they're fired at a planet to create a web of anti-air missile batteries with their own point defences. Are they anti-air missiles in the tabletop game? No. But given how puny the missiles' offensive output is, I have to assume they're that size to give them the ability to hit targets a hundred miles away. Or, you know, 48" if it's on the tabletop. Anyway. Once that lattice of batteries have been deployed, this is where the second reason comes in.

That second reason is that I really, really don't like the look of the Desolation Squad. But as Tom demonstrated with his Desolators, the minis work fine if you just leave the missiles off and use them as target-designating laser pointers. For the Cobalt Scions, I imagine the network of Hammerfall Bunkers are essentially the ammo supply for the Desolators I will soon be building.

And like a Cobalt Scion should, I'm getting my supplies in place before I put troops in the field.


  1. Nice!

    I was just talking about making a whirlwind out of a gladiator with the kid, although I was thinking about using the usual whirlwind turret instead of the bunker top... I like that your army is built out of efficiencies, where the impulser can be a gladiator which can be a whirlwind which can be a bunker.

    Separately, I just realized that your tanks lack the oversized logo that usually graces the flat sides of a Marine vehicle. Is that to avoid ruining the electric blue camo? ;)

    1. Ha! Fair question; I avoid a giant icon on my stealthy blue bricks because generally I paint it as a blue fist on a white background, and felt it'd look weird inverting the insignia on the tanks, so I just keep the iconography to the white panels.

      A Whirlwind turret could look good, assuming you find a visually pleasing way to fill the turret ring. Cheers :)

    2. I would likely 3d print an adapter ring. I have a ton of old (and unbuilt!) marine vehicles from the hoary days of 3rd edition, so it is mainly an issue of negotiating with the kid for their reassignment. I am currently holding out for a fireprism, partly for the LOLs of exchanging a target for the thing which kills said target.

      Regarding the blue on blue issue, that's the sort of thing that white striping would take care of, say a solid white stripe down from the side vision port. However! This one is already done, so leaving well enough alone is a good call too.

    3. A printed adapter ring's clever, as would a big white stripe be - even if the latter would require me to retrospectively go back and redo a trio of tanks. Which, as you say, plants itself in leaving well enough alone territory :D


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