So here’s my entry! It’s my attempt the reconcile some of the slightly older fluff about very individual, barbaric and intimidating Skitarii tribunes in books like Graham McNeil’s “Of Mars” trilogy with the highly impersonal and regimented Codex portrayal the force is given, as well as giving Skitarii a much-needed HQ unit.
When the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus go to war, the faceless marching columns of the Skitatii are often preceded by terrifying four-armed constructs of flesh and metal, draped in grisly trophies and barbaric furs to imitate the Thark of ancient Martian myth. These fearsome individuals are the Spatharoi or “Masters of Skitarii”, the Red Priesthood’s chosen instrument of intimidation.
Each Spatharios is carefully engineered by the Magii to evince maximum psychological impact, a careful calibration of threat postures, dymantic theory and violent potential. Their intimidating appearance is matched by their physical strength, skill at arms and the ability to coordinate allied forces on a tactical level, making each one a considerable military asset.
The Spatharoi have two primary functions. The first is diplomatic, acting as bodyguard and protector to emissaries sent out by Forge Worlds as a token of the Synod’s support and an implicit demonstration of the Omnissiah’s potential wrath.
Their other function is on the battlefield, where a Spatharios can unleash its full killing potential at the head of a War Cohort or Maniple of Skitarii. Spatharoii have been furnished with the computational ability to coordinate tactical manoeuvres and can continue this analytical behaviour even as they launch frenzied close quarter attacks on enemy positions and high value targets.
However, the real value of a Spatharios is more subtle. Although they pose as the commanders of Skitarii formations and can even serve as such if required, they are in truth no more autonomous or militarily vital than any other Skitarius. An enemy might commit huge resources to assassinate a Spatharios or assume that their presence in the vanguard of an assault makes the target the Machine Cult’s primary objective; Magii safely secured in distant underground bunkers or in orbit have won uncounted conflicts by utilising such misdirection.
Pictured below is Spatharios Unit 23-7 from the Legiones Skitarii of Forge World Phaeton, presently detached for protection duty and >error92462: Classified< in the service of Archmandrite Vikram, Comptroller Locum of the mining colony of Khamove Tertius.
Here’s a bitz breakdown.
Head- FW Khorne Berzerker with greenstuff hair.
Torso and (upper set of) arms- AoS Darkoath Chieftain, with technological additions from various kits including Electropriests, FW Iron Tyrant terminators and Necromunda.
Lower arms- FW Scylla Guardian automata
Main weapon- FW Archmagos Draykavac with Zinge flexible chain weapon blade, sicaran flechette gun muzzle, and a variety of watch parts on the bottom to extend the shaft and shift the grip.
Upper arm left hand- Darkoath Chieftain with hanging head from a Lizardman kit.
Lower arm left hand- Techpriest bionic hand with Necromunda Goliath combi-weapon.
Legs- Necron Triarch Praetorian with Darkoath Chieftain decorations on the shins and a Goliath bum-plate.
Backpack- Khorne Skullreaper bannerpole with electropriest toppers, plus an electropriest powerpack.