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The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:

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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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:

Space Marines Rhino - Space Wolves
Space Marines Rhino - Space Wolves

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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