Monday, April 4, 2011

5 Minute History: Sentinel

The first Sentinels produced by Games Workshop looked nothing like its modern day descendant and instead looked like an egg on toothpicks. The Sentinel is a bi-pedal walker used by the Imperial Guard in the Warhammer 40,000. It appears as an armless walker, in contrast to walkers of most other races which have arms, additionally the sentinel is typically armed with only one heavy weapon. The current sentinel bears some resemblance to the imperial AT-STs from Star Wars. Although the scout variant sentinels have open driver compartments rather than the enclosed cabins used by the armored sentinel variant.

Behold the power of the Rouge Trader Sentinel!

The Sentinel was first introduced into the Warhammer 40,000 ruleset in the May 1989 issue of White Dwarf magazine. This rules addendum for the Imperial Army was for the first edition of the game, Rogue Trader. The first model for the Sentinel appeared in the 1991 citadel miniatures catalogue, alongside early models for Imperial Guard support weapons. Made entirely from metal and resembling an 'egg on legs' it mounted a multilaser and had the option of two different pilots. However, the multilaser very closely resembled the assault cannon, another multi barrel rapid fire support weapon which was added later. This was replaced by a boxed set in July 1998. In time for the last days of Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition, this Sentinel kit was also made entirely out of metal and was now officially armed with an Assault Cannon.

3rd Edition Sentinel, an upgrade for sure!

Two years later, the kit received a makeover and a new, all-plastic Sentinel boxed set was released to coincide with the release of Codex: Imperial Guard for the third edition of Warhammer 40,000. This version of the sentinel featured more poseable legs, an almost-enclosed cockpit and either a Multilaser or a Heavy Flamer. The Heavy Flamer, along with parts to replace the pilot's head and arms and other jungle-warfare mods were included on a separate "Catachan Sentinel Sprue". The first release of the plastic Sentinel featured three of the walkers in a boxed set.

Later re-releases and repackaged versions of the basic plastic Sentinel would be produced by Games Workshop, including an Armageddon-pattern Sentinel which contained metal parts to build a fully-enclosed cockpit and replace the main weapon with a metal Lascannon. This version was released with the campaign sourcebook Codex: Armageddon which included rules for a variant of the Imperial Guard army, the Armageddon Steel Legion. Steel Legion Sentinels were fully enclosed and were armed with Lascannons, according to the Legion army list.

Another refit of the Sentinel was released with Codex: Eye of Terror in 2003. The Cadian army list in the codex contained an additional weapon option for Sentinels, an Autocannon. The Cadian-pattern Sentinel boxed set contained metal bits to add extra armor to the cockpit assembly plus a metal Autocannon. The Autocannon and Lascannon options from Codex: Eye of Terror and Codex: Armageddon were later included as viable options for Imperial Guard Sentinels in the 2003 Edition of the Imperial Guard codex.

Forgeworld also entered the ever changing Sentinel model market with their own take on the sentinel in the form of a all resin 'drop troop' variant released for use with the Elysian armies detailed in the 2006 release of Imperial Armour 4: The Anphelion project. Forgeworld also released a Tallarn variant of the sentinel released around the time of Imperial Armour 3: the Taros Campaign.

Since the release of the 5th edition Codex, Sentinels have been split into two different unit categories, the Scout Sentinel and the Armored Sentinel. In addition, the Armored Sentinel can carry a plasma cannon and Games Workshop has released an updated Sentinel boxed set that includes a variety of new weapons options, including a missile launcher.


  1. I LOVE Sentinels! I use them in every one of my Guard lists. My main squadron is 3 of the old Egg Sentinels that I use as Scouts.

  2. :-) Yes, sadly I also field 4 of the old "Death Chicken" sentinels in my IG force... They've had a LONG service here in my armies and have been retrofitted a number of times with different weapons, but still amusing to break out every now and then..

  3. I agree, the Sentinel is definately my favorite Guard model, and one of my all time favorites ever!

    Thanks for the history, but im pleased to say that i wasnt collecting that long ago! They've definately made some much needed improvements over the years!

  4. I haven't ever seen a 'good' version of the eggs on toothpicks. Sandwyrm does the best chicken walkers I have seen tho...