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Space Marine Predator Annihilator

At first glance, the Space Marine Rhino may appear to be somewhat unimpressive (to most of your 40K opponents). This is hardly surprising, as it's armour is on the lighter side - being considerably more vulnerable, when fired at, by even a slightly more powerful conventional weapon (such as a Chaos Autocannon, a Krak Missile Launcher and a Ork Kustom Mega-Blasta). Whereas the Rhino's intended use is as a troop transporter (within Space Marine armies), it is when the Rhino is combined with the lust of trigger-happy Space Marines, that we see it's first evolution - as a powerful mobile weapons platform (aka Tank). The first such Rhino variant that I have added to my Space Wolves army, is my Predator Annihilator:

Space Marine Predator Annihilator - Space Wolves
Space Marine Predator Annihilator - Space Wolves

Perhaps it was a voice from The Fang, perhaps it was with the foresight of Russ himself, I'm not entirely sure ... Yet it was, that I only ever considered constructing the triple-armed Lascannon version of this tank (two side/sponson mounted Lascannons and one turret mounted twin-linked Lascannon) - ignoring the possibility of two Heavy Bolters (entirely). Upon the first battle, was this decision vindicated: my Predator Annihilator opened fire and destroyed a Space Marine Dreadnought (with three penetrating hits, ripping the armoured sarcophagus apart, immediately slaying an ancient Dark Angels Space Marine). Upon the second battle, was this decision cemented: my Predator Annihilator opened fire and severely wounded a Chaos Daemon Prince (with three direct hits, even Daemonic Stature failed to protect, leaving just one wound, from Daemonic Essence, and pause-for-thought, on behalf of the Chaos commander!). Yet a Space Marine commander should not be so easily convinced! As within, a later battle, did a Blood Angels Dreadnought tear into the armour of my Predator Annihilator: it's front armour failed to hold up to a Power Fist! Then again, within a later battle, did the (same) Chaos Daemon Prince, exact his revenge: 2D6 plus strength (6) and a Dark Blade (plus 2), proved too much for the side armour! Thus did I (the Space Wolves commander) learn some important lessons: a Predator Annihilator is most effective when it's kept out of hand-to-hand combat, is orientated to face the enemy (so any hits are taken on the thickest front armour), which in-turn, allows you to bring all three Lascannons to bear, on a single target - take that Dreadnought! Now, this is the first Space Wolves heavy-tank that I ever painted: it's an older Predator Annihilator (fifteen years or so), yet it still looks great on the battlefield! When constructing: I assembled and glued the main plastic parts (i.e. the chassis), then (when dry), super-glued the metal tank top into place (excluding the turret) and super-glued the side sponsons bottom plus inner-side to the chassis (excluding the Lascannons and side sponsons top/front). This greatly simplified painting - as I could treat this main-part as a simple (all be it heavier) Rhino chassis: under-coating in Chaos Black (spray paint), tank brushing in The Fang, and dry-brushing with Elf Grey. I was then able to use a Fine Detail Brush (with Chaos Black) to paint the tracks, grills, funnels and view-slits. I also made use of a cocktail stick when I painted the (Chaos Black) rivets - by dabbing the end in Chaos Black, and then dabbing onto the rivet. A dry-brush in bolt-gun was then sufficient to complete the core painting of my Predator Annihilator. I then decided to show the lineage/connection to a Space Marine Rhino: I included the same Grey Hunter and Blood Claw Pack Markings (that I have on my Rhino), even though a Predator Annihilator, is unable to transport troops of any kind! I then assembled the three Lascannons, and worked on them separately (with the same approach as the main tank chassis). I then used a modelling file, to file-off a small amount of paint, so that I could glue the remaining parts of the side sponsons on - touching up, where necessary, after the glue had dried. I found the glueing of the turret, into the turret base, extremely challenging! I had to use my rotary kit, to remove both paint and metal, from the inside edge, of the turret base (so that it would fit on). I was eventually successful (none-the-less), and the final results speak for themselves! Overall: the Predator Annihilator is a Space Marine tank that shall add tremendous fire-power to your army. It's capable of destroying vehicles (such as Dreadnoughts and Chaos Defilers). It's also capable of wounding/slaying special characters (such as the Eldar Avatar and a Chaos Daemon Prince). Being equipped with three Lascannons, it's probably not worth shooting at normal squads (unless there's nothing else to shoot at, or you wish to destroy a Devastator Squad). Despite being powerful, it's not a Space Marine Land Raider (nor is it as forgiving): if you expose it's armour to hand-to-hand combat weapons (such as Power Fists, Lightning Claws and Daemon Princes), you are likely to regret it! As such, it's a vehicle that I like to keep away from the enemy (sometimes, even reversing, so that I can increase the distance, between the enemy and my tank/army). Such a tactic may not work though - especially if your up against Imperial Guard or Chaos Iron Warriors (as their big guns shall leave you vulnerable). On the plus side, the Predator Annihilator, costs less than a Land Raider (in terms of points) - which means you may be able to wield two or three (of them) - giving you six to nine Lascannons to fire! I also enjoyed being able to customise my Predator Annihilator - as I decided to opt for a Dozer Blade (great for difficult terrain tests) and Extra Armour (which I feel, is modelled appropriately by the kits metal top/turret base). Perhaps my ultimate customisation is the fact that I glued the rear ramp on upside down (for consistency with my Rhino) - which means (in theory) that your troops may get shot in the ankles! In Conclusion: I found this an enjoyable kit to make, especially as it took me several weeks painting (mostly in the evenings at weekends) - and I am extremely pleased with the finished model!

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