Monday, June 13, 2011

5 Minute History: Landspeeder Part Deux

Over the years, numerous Land Speeder versions have been released with a wide array of weapon combinations. To accommodate these various incarnations, the Land Speeder entry in the Space Marines' army list allows several upgrades to the common single-weapon-armed Land Speeder. In addition, there are a few Land Speeder variants that have gained rules of their own.

The Ravenwing Master-Crafted Landspeeder is a unique variant of the Land Speeder ridden only by the master of the Dark Angels chapter's 2nd company, known as the Ravenwing. The Master of the Ravenwing's speeder is heavily armed with twin-heavy bolters and twin-linked assault cannons. In addition, the specialized speeder is equipped with superior targeting equipment and a protective shield generator. The Master of the Ravenwing model kit was released in 1999 by Games Workshop to coincide with the release of the Dark Angels codex.

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The Land Speeder Tornado is a much more heavily-armed Land Speeder. The designation was originally created to accommodate the metal Land Speeder models released for the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40,000 in 3rd edition Space Marine armies. Tornadoes are essentially Land Speeders with a second weapon underneath, corresponding to the speeder's main weapon. Land Speeder Tornadoes armed with a heavy bolter have an underslung assault cannon while multi-melta-armed speeders are armed with an additional heavy flamer. These two incarnations corresponded to the Dark Angels' Ravenwing Land Speeder and the standard second edition Land Speeder. In 1999, an updated Land Speeder Tornado model was released by Games Workshop, using the new plastic design of the Land Speeder as a base. However, the additional weapons to upgrade the speeder to a Tornado were metal.

The Land Speeder Typhoon was first released in 1999 as a plastic and metal kit based on the standard Space Marine Land Speeder. The rules for the Typhoon were actually released a year before in the 3rd edition of the Codex: Space Marines sourcebook. The Typhoon sports two metal missile racks mounted on both sides of the plastic speeder model. In-game, they fire as a Typhoon missile launcher, an anti-personnel missile launcher that is best used against lightly-armored enemy infantry.

The Land Speeder Tempest is a heavy-armoured variant of the standard Land Speeder released by Forge World as a resin-kit for Warhammer 40,000. The model itself incorporates many changes to the standard speeder's design. The Tempest's single-pilot cockpit is entirely enclosed and instead of small stabilizers, full wings extend from the sides of the speeder. It is armed with a nose-mounted assault cannon and twin missile racks along its sides. The rules for the Land Speeder Tempest were first published in Forge World's Warhammer 40,000 sourcebook, Imperial Armour Update: New Vehicles for Warhammer 40,000. In the game's background, the Tempest was originally developed for use by the White Scars Space Marines, a chapter known for their use of lightning-fast raiding tactics. The Tempest is perfect for supporting such raids with its anti-tank missiles and its infantry-shredding assault cannon.

With the release of the 5th edition Space Marine codex, in 2008, a new landspeeder varient was added to the motor pool, the Landspeeder Storm. Land Speeder Storms are variants which carry five-man Scout squads, often used to stealthily insert a squad into a vulnerable enemy position where the squad can wreak havoc. They mount a gunner-operated Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer, Multi-Melta or Assault Cannon.

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