Space Marine Rhino
When it comes to the armour of the Space Marines, it is Power Armour that the Emperor entrusted. Being akin to the standard Boltgun, it is Power Armour that's widespread, within the Legions of the Space Marines. Power Armour has earned a reputation (upon the battlefield) for being somewhat formidable: easily able to defeat the conventional weapons of the Enemies of Mankind (such as Traitor Legion Boltguns, Eldar Shuriken Catapults and the rampaging Ork Slugga). Yet, when it comes to the Vehicles of the Space Marines, there is one vehicle that is just as abundant (upon the battlefield) - the standard Space Marine Rhino:
There was a time, many years ago, when I saw little point in equipping my Space Wolves (Space Marines) with vehicles of any kind, save for my Dreadnought (Bjorn the Fell-Handed). I trusted to the Space Marines Power Armour, to fully save the day. However, with the events of one 40K battle, I changed my mind! I shall now explain why ... It was a 12000 point battle (6000 points each side). I wielded a combined Space Wolves and Eldar army - with it's main features being Power Armour upon Power Armour, and Phoenix Lord upon Phoenix Lord! My foes: a combined Dark Angels (Space Marines) and Imperial Guard army. The first turn: My Cyclone Missile Launcher Terminator opened fire - wiping out an entire Dark Angels Assault Squad (because in rules version two, each missile fired, increased the blast radius!). Great I thought! But then, on my opponents first turn: the Imperial Guard opened fire with their artillery! Not so great! Then did I realise the length of the table (ten feet or so). I needed to close the distance - but my troops just got shot to pieces (as the distance closed). By the time they were in range (for hand-to-hand), I had few Phoenix Lords left. Fortunately I had Karandras (the Shadow Hunter), who carved a bloody path through the Dark Angels. I still had my Eldar Avatar, but even with an argument over whether a Heavy Flamer could wound him (under rules version two), I couldn't hide one simple fact: I had too few troops left, having lost most of them to the Imperial Guard artillery (as my troops moved forward). My lesson had been learned: I now use vehicles with my Space Wolves army. Specifically: I equip my Grey Hunters and Blood Claws with Rhinos (whenever possible). Now, this is the first Space Wolves Tank I ever painted - and it's taken me twenty years or so to finish it! When painting: I under-coated in Chaos Black (spray paint), then used my tank brush over the entire model (with The Fang) and dry-brushed (with Elf Grey). I then painted the tank tracks, funnels and window slits with Chaos Black (and dry-brushed with bolt-gun). I decided to add Pack Markings for both Grey Hunters and Blood Claws. I wonder - do I have to declare to my opponent which squads/troops are in which Rhinos? (Would it be classed as rules bending - if I did not?). This is another model where I assembled the entire kit, before painting. This caused few issues - other than with the tank tracks, as it took a while to paint these (correctly) especially on the underside of the Rhino chassis (where I wanted the The Fang/Elf Grey to show through). It's also (for me) a model assembled with a minor mistake, that has caused much laughter: I have actually installed the rear ramp upside down - which means the view slit is at the bottom (which means in theory, that my Space Marines could shoot your models in the ankles!). When it comes to vehicle upgrades, I like to equip my Rhinos with both Dozer Blades and Smoke Launchers. I like the Dozer Blade because of its advantage with the difficult terrain test (allowing a re-roll). I like the Smoke Launchers because it allows me to close the range on the enemy, risking perhaps one turn for some extra movement (with just glancing hits possible). When playing with my Space Wolves army, plus Rhinos, I have noticed one immediate affect: your opponent (at least) has something to distract him from shooting directly at your troops. The Rhinos armour is not on the same levels as a Space Marine Land Raiders, but it still serves its purpose: to offer squads a level of protection whilst seeking to engage the enemy at a closer range. Overall: A kit that's simple to assemble, which will start to cause some pause-for-thought within your opponent, and does not cost too much (in terms of points). The Rhino will also move where you want it to, as opposed to risking the scatter dice, that's so often associated with Jump Packs. The inclusion of a Storm Bolter, also allows you to get a few shots off, as you move!
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