Monday, May 9, 2011

5 Minute History: Rhino

The ubiquitous transport vehicle known as the Space Marine Rhino was first unveiled by Games Workshop in 1988. Originally, it was meant as a transport vehicle for squads of Space Marines and Imperial Guard for the tabletop miniatures game, Rogue Trader, the first edition of Warhammer 40,000. It appears as a small, turretless tracked vehicle not unlike the M113 armored personnel carrier used by many of the world's armed forces. Like the M113, the Rhino's use in the various games that it appears in is that of a highly mobile, armoured troop transport.

While the rules governing the use of the vehicle changed over the course of several editions of the game, the plastic model representing the transport was not updated until 2002 when Games Workshop released a new plastic kit. This latest incarnation of the Rhino is the Space Marine MkIIc Rhino, released as a plastic kit by Games Workshop in 2002. The new incarnation of the Rhino was designed by Tim Adcock, also responsible for the redesign of many other Warhammer 40,000 models such as the Imperial Guard Sentinel and the Space Marine Land Raider.

In the Warhammer 40,000 game, the Rhino is supported by several rulesets, most commonly-used of which is Space Marine codex. Rhino transport vehicles can also be used by three other Warhammer 40,000 armies, the Daemonhunters, Witch Hunters, and the Chaos Space Marines. Witch Hunter players can field Rhinos to transport squads of Battle Sisters. Rhinos can also be used by both armies to transport elite squads of Inquisitorial Storm Troopers.

According to various background information sources that Games Workshop has released over the years, the Rhino was originally derived from the Rh1 N0 Standard Template Construct pattern. It is armed with a single storm bolter, mounted on the dorsal aspect of the tank. The chassis of the Rhino is easily adaptable, and serves as the basis for almost every other Space Marine vehicle. Rhinos are one of the cheapest transport vehicles available to the Imperium, though they are not as common as Imperial Guard transport vehicles such as the Chimera. This is reflected in game rules by the fact that only elite forces such as Space Marines, Sisters of Battle and the Inquisition can field Rhinos.

While the Space Marine Rhino first debuted as a model for the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game, it has made many appearances since its original inception. Miniaturized versions of the Rhino, with the same design as the corresponding Warhammer 40,000 design, were found in all editions of Epic; Epic Space Marine, Epic 40,000 and Epic: Armageddon.

The Rhino has also appeared in the many video games that make use of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise. Rhino squadrons are fieldable units in SSI's computer game Final Liberation, released in 1997. Most recently, Space Marine players of THQ's Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War can build Rhino APC's.

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