Monday, December 19, 2011

5 Minute History: Land Raider Variants

Aside from the ones commonly seen, other variants of the Land Raider have been described in various Games Workshop publications in various forms. Some published variants have actual game stats while others have merely been mentioned in passing as background material. These rarer modifications of the Land Raider are in service with some chapters of the Space Marines. This article is a follow up to the original history of the Land Raider history found HERE.

The Land Raider MkIII Crusader was released in September 2000 as a close assault version of the Land Raider geared towards transporting more troops. They are typically armed with two sponson-mounted hurricane bolters, each sponson holding six linked bolters, along with a twin-linked assault cannon and a pintle-mounted multi-melta, giving space marine players a very potent weapon against infantry and other soft targets. The rules for the Crusader were originally included in the Codex: Armageddon supplement as part of the Black Templars army list. Originally, only players using Black Templars armies could use the Crusaders in abundance, while Games Workshop made concessions to non-Black Templar Space Marine players by allowing other marine armies to field a maximum of one Land Raider Crusader. With the 2004 release of the 4th edition Space Marine codex, the limitations on fielding Land Raider Crusaders have been lifted, allowing Space Marine players to field as many as three. Like the standard Land Raiders, Crusaders make an appearance in Epic: Armageddon, the fourth edition of Epic. Only the Black Templars Chapter is able to field Crusaders in Epic, and since there is currently no stock model available players must convert their own. The crusader has the highest transport capabilities of space marine vehicles, with 16 marines or 8 terminators. In late 2008 the completely plastic variant was released, which proved to be popular amongst Space Marine players.

The Land Raider Redeemer is a variant that was introduced in the 5th edition of the Space Marine Codex released in 2008. It uses the same hull as the Crusader, complete with assault cannons and frag assault launchers. The main differences are the main guns-the sponson-mounted hurricane bolters have been replaced with two flamestorm cannons. It has the standard Land Raider transport capabilities.

The Land Raider Prometheus originally appeared in the February 2001 issue of the Citadel Journal magazine published by the Specialist Games branch of Games Workshop. A resin conversion kit for the plastic Land Raider was released in 2001 by Forge World. The rules for it later reappeared in the Imperial Armour Update: New Vehicles for Warhammer 40,000 sourcebook released in 2002. According to the sourcebook, the Prometheus was developed specifically as a command tank. The original Land Raider's lascannon sponsons have been replaced with two pairs of twin-linked heavy bolters each and the hull-mounted heavy bolters have been replaced with special communications and sensor equipment. This variant is supposedly used by Space Marine commanders as their mobile base of operations as its heavy armor can withstand the most hard-hitting attacks.

The Land Raider Helios was also introduced in the Imperial Armour Update supplement produced by Forge World. As with the Land Raider Prometheus, a resin Land Raider Helios conversion kit is available from Forge World. Like the Prometheus, the Helios replaces some of the standard Land Raider's existing weaponry with a more specialized loadout. The Helios mounts a Whirlwind missile launcher in place of the twin-linked heavy bolters. The background for the tank states that the Helios was designed by the Red Scorpions Space Marine chapter to supplement their existing artillery during the Siege of Helios. Purportedly, the extra space required for storing the whirlwind launcher's missiles reduced the transport capability of the vehicle.

The Land Raider Terminus Ultra is a variant of the Land Raider that was introduced for the Apocalypse supplement of Warhammer 40,000. It has a twin-linked lascannon instead of the twin-linked heavy bolters, and two regular lascannons in front of the side-mounted twin-linked ones. This is the ultimate anti-armour tank, but must forfeit its transport capabilities and risk a power overload when it fires its cannons.

The Land Raider Spartan was a variant of the Land Raider originally mentioned in an article in White Dwarf magazine. In the game's background, the Spartan was designed during the Horus Heresy to break through the 'Ring of Death' surrounding the city of Aries Prime on Mars. It was originally the only Land Raider capable of transporting Terminators. The Spartan was armed with the standard Land Raider loadout of the day, two twin-linked lascannons and either a heavy bolter or heavy flamer on a turret on top (assault cannons were not standard then). It was widely spread after the Heresy, but disappeared when the standard Land Raider was re-designed to carry Terminators. The Spartan came about as modelling conversion project in White Dwarf magazine that used a mixture of parts from the original Land Raider and Rhino model kits to make a new vehicle. The parts not used in making the Spartan were the subject of another modelling article in a subsequent issue of White Dwarf for a Rhino based "tank hunter".

The Land Raider Ares is a current variant of the Land Raider released with Warhammer Apocalypse. It is armed with two twin-linked heavy flamers and a hull mounted demolisher-cannon. It forfeits its troop carrying abilities for the demolisher cannon. In the games background it was developed by the Dark Angels in the siege of Murus because standard Vindicator's armour wasn't able to stand up to the defensive weapons of the populace.

still practicing_



  1. :-) Good article... I have by now converted both of my ancient MK I's over to Spartan class Raiders... One I did 20 years ago when I got the kit (2 LR's/$20), one I finally completed this year while cleaning up the basement... Had "a few" old Rhino hulls around and the LR was pretty trashed, so a Spartan Crusader is what it became... With the modifications, it's "footprint" is really close to that of the modern Land Raider, so shouldn't be a problem for most folks on the field... :-) Still, if I can field them as the new FW variants... Might be amusing at least...

  2. Nice Article!

    Just as a heads up you are missing the land raider Achilles which was put into production last year by forgeworld. It has a thunderfire cannon mounted on the hull and 2 twin linked multi-melta sponsons. What is cool about it is that it is impervious to melta weapons (aka no extra d6 for armor penetration) but has a storage capacity of only 6.

  3. I have seen a few Spartan Landraiders but never a good one, that's why the Ares made the picture. The Spartan sounds awesome but pulling it off is hard!

    Oh dear, I will have to amend my article to include the Achilles going forward. Thanks for the catch.