Friday, 1 July 2016

Young, Gifted and Blackshield

Excuses first.

  1. Been painting a unit of Orc's and still not finished them!
  2. We took the side off the cot of the youngest and instantly regretted the loss of our entire evenings to chasing him back into bed.
  3. We're moving house this weekend!
  4.  Work has been busy
  5. The country fell apart
Now I've explained why I've been a bit quiet I can get back to a bit of chit chat.

Those of you that have been paying attention to such things will have noticed that the wonder folks at Forgeworld have been pumping out Horus Heresy stuff at fantastic rate of knots. Book 6 of the series - Retribution, introduces a new faction into the mix. Blackshields. This is a catch all term for marines who have become orphaned, cut off or simply turned their backs on their Legions and have started to fight their own war for their own reasons. They ostensibly fight in armour devoid of legion insignia but just as often fight in whatever colour they like. Who's going to tell them other wise? The concept reminds of the the Black army of anarchists that  fought during the Russian civil war.

They were fighting their own war against the Reds and the Whites and for their own reasons with an Anarchist view of government at their heart (Anarchism was actually a popular movement in the first third of the 20th century and their were in fact Anarchist trade unions fighting on the republican side of the Spanish civil war in the late 30's).

So why am I bringing this up (the Blackshields, not the Anarchists)? Well, there is something incredibly neat about the whole idea of non-chaos renegade marine forces for those of Rogue Trader bent. One of the first clues that the FW design team are having fun with the concept is the name of one of the most notable groups of Blackshields - The Dark Brotherhood. 

Now where have we heard that name before?

Oh yeah! The Rogue Trader rule book! This image is titled 'Chapter of the Dark Brotherhood'. Coincidence? Bollocks!

Once you make that connection you instantly jump to the most infamous pic in the book. The two grumpy looking 'marines' sitting in a grotty bar. Are they just Human's in power armour? Are they Renegade marines? Are they mercenaries?

If we think of Blackshields fighting in their own colours then we instantly have a new paradigm for these guys. Fighting their own war at the edges of a galactic civil war.

Once we make this leap then we are instantly re-examining all the images of marines form the RT book. All of a sudden we are freed from having to stick to a uniform and a side. We can go crazy with our marines. Anything goes.

In more ways than one. 

As I understand it, the blackshields list allows you to arm your marines in non-conformist ways and even allow you to arm them with xenos weaponry. I'll just let that sink in for a minute.

The marines don't all have to armed with bolters.

They don'y have standard weapons.

That means......

This guy

This guy

and this guy

Are all suddenly game legal in 40K games! 

And I'm reliably informed that Pariah class power armour exists in the list solely cos of this guy!

and this means that all us old soaks who have been wracking our brains on how to make squads out of our RT001 and C100 marines while hammering ebay trying to get enough bolter armed squaddies can now just throw our beloved Copplestone variants into the mix with the Death Eagle marines and add the Chrimbo marines for a bit of fizz. Throw in the armour variants and the LE2 marine and the Chaplains, Tech marines and She-marines and we are well on our way to having a proper mix of power armoured Psycho's.

In fact, what's stopping you from adding in some of the scouts and a couple of terminators for officers. The choice to play a modern 40K faction with old school models without having to conform to the army lists that disqualify half of the figures is seriously tempting.

But there's more! the paint schemes in the Retribution are straight forward but not hugely inspiring, painting and army of your beloved RT marines may be a bit of a come down.....

BUT the idea that the Black Shields fight in whatever colour they want opens up the opportunity to experiment and innovate with whatever colour scheme takes your fancy. Want to have a bunch of marines in an eye scorching variety of camo schemes? Go for it! Want to have a go at painting a wide variety of legion schemes? Why not? Want to practice checks and patterns and try a load of heraldic patterns? Of course you can. 

Basically using your RT marines as black shields gives you a very flexible option for your figures. Paint them how you like, get your weird weapons on the table and look like the coolest old fart in town. 

"Are they Forgeworld mate?
"Nah mate! They're metal! Heavy Metal!"


  1. Replies
    1. Lol - It was you mentioning the dark brotherhood that gave it away.

    2. Yeah, I wanted an old school gamer like yourself to discover this stuff without us making it too obvious, more fun that way :-)

  2. Really great from you to expose all this and from FW to take the time to adress such a a matter !

  3. Fantastic. This is how it ought to be!

  4. So FW are trying to put the myth, heart and origin back into 40k? Can they do the same for Fantasy?

  5. Great article, about time Marines got interesting

  6. certainly a smart move by FW, Quite glad they are introducing them again.

  7. Fine piece detective work worthy of Decker the replicant. And I was just thinking of building a squad of Marine Scouts with interesting weapons - because I've got lots of broken ones from Advanced Space Marine - based on the original metal ones in White Dwarf 159 particularly the one with a shuriken catapult and bionic eye! Now I can justify it.

  8. 30k has always been recyclying old stuff (conversion beamers, bots and such).
    The list isn't better or worse than any of the rest, but pick a Typhoon or some superheavy to square off vs 40k if you wanna win. The drawback is that obviously you don't get any primarchs.

    1. And 40k marines are better than 30k, they can even get most of the tanks and dreads too, so the only think that saves 30k vs 40k is a primarch IMO


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