Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Minute History: Predator

The original Predator miniature for Warhammer 40,000 was released in 1990 as a fully plastic kit. The tank was essentially a variant of the Rhino chassis with a turret and weapons in side sponsons. Later that year, a miniaturized Predator model was released for the 1st edition of the Epic, then-named Epic Space Marine. The original version of the tank had a much rounder turret, reminiscent of the Russian T-62 tank and rounder sponsons (This version is now designated as a Predator Destructor).

Original Predator with 'lolli-pop' turret

An updated model was released in 1997, a year before the release of the 3rd edition of Warhammer 40,000 and introduced both the Predator Annihilator and Predator Destructor variants; both feature angular sponsons (similar to WWI tanks) and shorter turret-mounted weaponry (the Annihilator's turret was rounded while the Destructor's was angular). This updated model was also adopted for the Epic 40,000 3rd edition, though the game did not distinguish between the two types of Predators. For the 4th edition of Warhammer 40,000, the design of the Predator was updated and standardized in 2004. A new all-plastic kit was released using the new MkII Rhino chassis, allowing configuration of the tank with all available weapon fits possible as of the 4th edition Codex: Space Marines sourcebook.
Space Marine Predators are armed with either an autocannon or a twin-linked lascannon in their turret. An autocannon-armed one is normally designated a Predator Destructor while one armed with the twin lascannon turret is referred to as a Predator Annihilator. In addition to their turret weapons, Predators are often armed with a pair of side sponson-mounted secondary weapons. These can either be anti-infantry heavy bolters or tank-busting lascannons. Most Predators are usually configured for a specific purpose (i.e. turret and sponson lascannons for a dedicated tank hunter, or turret and sponson autocannon with heavy bolters for cutting down infantry en masse), though it is possible to mix roles for the turret and sponson weapons for a generalist role.

According to the background information, the Predator was first designed for Space Marines as a cavalry tank, appropriate for the Marines' rapid-strike tactics. It has lighter armour and weaker weaponry compared to true Imperial main battle tanks such as the Leman Russ and thus is not as survivable in a head-to-head confrontation with other heavy tanks.

Chaos Space Marine armies also have access to the Predator tank. Chaos Predators may be armed with all the weapons that standard Space Marine Predators can be armed with. It is interesting to note that Predators in Chaos armies are never referred to as Annihilators or Destructors though they may be configured as such. In 2003, the Predator design was finally updated for the Chaos Space Marines. The new plastic kit incorporated the design of the new marine version with added spikes common to Chaos vehicles.

Outside of the Warhammer 40,000 and Epic tabletop games, various versions of the Predator has appeared in games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Predator squadrons are fieldable units in the Epic 40,000 Final Liberation computer game. Both Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine factions in the real-time strategy game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War can field Predator tanks as well. During the first few versions of the game and now in the latest version of Dark Crusade, both lascannon and autocannon-armed tanks were fieldable. Later patches and expansions limited the types (and number) of Predators that could be fielded.


  1. I love my predator tank and nice explanation on them.
    You also reminded me of Final Liberation I remember enjoying that so thanks.

  2. i really enjoy these articles, keep it up man!

  3. glad you guys enjoyed it, next week is landspeeders I think... that might be a two parter!

  4. keep these up T, looking forward to the "Guard Artillery" article...