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Unification Wars - What Was Around, When?

Unification Wars Unity Pre-Great Crusade Wars of Unification Terra Techno-Barbarians Thunder Warriors Proto-Astartes Period Accuracy Terrawatt Clan

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#1
Ryltar Thamior

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Exactly what it says on the tin. For some time now, Umbral & I have been engaged in a slow-burning effort at doing various Unification Wars bits and pieces; and I've also noticed a reasonable uptick in people either doing their own logs/projects, or otherwise taking quite an interest in this period (lookin' at you, Honda; EdT, etc.). 

Part of the 'fun' with 30k modelling has always been the 'historical wargamer' side of things - attempting to get armour marks correct, and avoid anachronisms with equipment issue etc.; but with the added bonus that it's generally felt like a springboard to greater creativity (hence why my loyalist IVth are in Mk.VI - based off that minor fluff-piece about prototype suits being shipped to the Iron Warriors for field-evaluation and being wildly unpopular with Perturabo) rather than the 'straitjacket' it can seem like with "proper" historical modelling. 

'Back in the day', before Forgeworld and the Black Library started detailing the Heresy properly, this meant a fair bit of what I suppose you might call "detective work" - figuring out when items of kit etc. became available and to whom, as well as any other details we could, based around piecing together stuff from Index Astartes articles, codex art, and whatever else was available to 'fill in the [then-unfathomable] blanks'. 

I'm interested in bringing this approach to the Wars of Unification - both because I'm quite keen on getting things 'period-accurate' with my output (I mean, if I'm going to put in a rather significant amount of effort in the conversion-work for each individual miniature .. may as well do it *right*, right?), and also because - like I said - it's a 'springboard for creativity' that considerably helps guide (and expedite) my modelling choices. 

I therefore thought it a prudent idea to get a thread going devoted to exactly this - attempting to work out what was in service during the Wars of Unification, and when it may have come into service; along with potential conjecture about predecessors and prototypes and suchlike that fill 'gaps' in our understanding, mayhap; and 'useful notes' about the elements in question (like whether it was an STC design or somebody 'invented' it, who tended ot make or comprise whatever it is, what it was brought in to replace, how it differs (especially visually) from its 30k and 40k 'descendents' (if applicable), tactical or strategic notes on employment, etc.). 

The scope of this thread isn't intended to *just* be about hardware (although for obvious reasons, that's quite important), but also about *formations* [e.g. the hexagrammaton style Astartes organizational template], roles and ranks [e.g the Imperial Herald proto-chaplain position; the Indian military ranks that Thunder Warriors appear to use per Outcast Dead], units, forces and regiments [e.g. the Lucifer Blacks etc.], as well as the various different kinds of super-soldier [e.g. Thunder Warriors, Custodes, Astartes, etc.]. 

But also very definitely .. the hardware!

It'd be great to have citations, links, even pictures and such where possible - whether official, or peoples' fan-efforts that're worthy of note. 

I'll take a stab at some research and what not during my next wake-cycle; but eagerly look forward to seeing what others come up with in the mean-time. I'm particularly interested at the moment in 'small-arms' - bolters, whatever came before bolters, volkites, meltaguns, plasma weapons etc. : when they entered service if it was during Unification, waht patterns/what did they look like, and so forth. 

I'm sure others will also find all this very useful. 

 


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#2
carlisimo

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I don't have much to offer aside from snarky comments about Mk II miniature availability, but I'm eager to follow this thread. I’ll dig around the books and post citations when I get the chance.

I suspect we won't get much information until Angelus comes out in 18 months or so. There's a decent chance the hexagrammaton came about on Terra, as you say. The Dark Angels' dirty weapons appear to be Terran, which suggests everything Destroyers use are too. Volkite's Martian so that's out.

A big question is if the Terrawatt clans that supplied the Custodes made any equipment for the rest of the Emperor's forces. They probably couldn't produce things in bulk, but they blow Mars away in quality. You get the feeling they learned a lot from the Eldar. Did any other Terran nations have stuff like that??
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#3
Skalpynock

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A big question is if the Terrawatt clans that supplied the Custodes made any equipment for the rest of the Emperor's forces. They probably couldn't produce things in bulk, but they blow Mars away in quality. You get the feeling they learned a lot from the Eldar. Did any other Terran nations have stuff like that??


From the very first paragraphs of Gorgon of Medusa, they built many thing, as that passage mentions one of the last Techmarines trained in the Urals rather than on Mars.
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#4
Luna707

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I love this idea! The Unification Wars have really been inspiring me lately, I plan on doing a few Thunder Warriors and Unification era Custodes here soon. I am a big fan of the emphasis on "historical" accuracy, I will certainly be following this thread closely.

 

In your digging, have you uncovered any details regarding Unification Era Custodes equipment? I'm assuming it would be pretty similar to 30k armament, however I don't have any facts to back that up. I'm planning on giving them some pickelhaube like helms reminiscent of earlier heresy artwork to give them a sense of an evolving aesthetic that would be refined in the wars to follow. 

 

gallery_84811_11431_40588.jpg


Edited by Luna707, 22 September 2018 - 12:10 AM.

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#5
Ryltar Thamior

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RIght, so much to my annoyance, I managed to type out most of a reasonably lenghty response to everything raised/asked thus far ... and then in a fit of over-exuberant touchpad, accidentally closed it - B&C's autosave feature not availing me in this particular instance. Oh well. I'll try  and do a summary version from wwhat i remember at 04:30 a.m then :D 

 

I don't have much to offer aside from snarky comments about Mk II miniature availability, but I'm eager to follow this thread. I’ll dig around the books and post citations when I get the chance.

I suspect we won't get much information until Angelus comes out in 18 months or so. There's a decent chance the hexagrammaton came about on Terra, as you say. The Dark Angels' dirty weapons appear to be Terran, which suggests everything Destroyers use are too. Volkite's Martian so that's out.

A big question is if the Terrawatt clans that supplied the Custodes made any equipment for the rest of the Emperor's forces. They probably couldn't produce things in bulk, but they blow Mars away in quality. You get the feeling they learned a lot from the Eldar. Did any other Terran nations have stuff like that??

 

I get what you mean about Mk.II - and in an 'ideal' world [as opposed to the grim darkness of the late 2010s, where there is only curious FW catalogue constraints] , i'd be hoping that the Mk.II we *had* would be being replaced by a somewaht re-realized set of sculpts that look cooler. But that is .. presumably rather unlikely. Not that I'm particularly bothered - all my Marines are truescale, and I've got a rather 'bigger' [no pun intended] problem of never having figured out how to do Mk.II in truescale anyway. 

What i waas working off with that comment about the Hexagrammaton , was a recent tranche of material GW's put out, as collated in this 40kwiki article. Now ... there's a bit of an issue with this, as it conflicts rather significantly in a few key ways with what a number of other sources have said about the early Astartes organization and rollout over the course of the Unification Wars - namely, the idea of the Ist being implicitly *everything* in terms of Astartes in the field, and following the introduction of more gene-lines, the folding of those into the six-wing structure ... rather than the more 'usual' line about somewhere up to twenty gene-lines in operation, with multiple "legions" [although obviously nowhere near "legions" at this stage] in simultaneous operation from pretty much the point of being able to field a few hundred marines apiece. ALthough it does make a certain sense to have specialized formations of Astartes 'playing to their strengths' so to speak, able to be called upon and used to augment other Army of Unification forces on an as-needed basis, while there were only a very small [relatively speaking] number of Marines on the entire planet. 

Also interesting to note, on a bit of a side-tangent, the explicit suggestion that the Ravenwing's modus operandi derives from Terran barbarian steppe-nomad practices and such. 

As applies volkites - it certainly appears that they were only seriously available in numbers once Mars was brought into the fold, but given the older roots for the technology, it would not at all surprise me to find that volkite or volkite-like weapons may have been in very limited circulation on Terra during Unification. Along with all manner of other things - including, for instance, Adrathic weaponry. 

With regard ot the Terrawatt Clan, there's mention of a ship, the Eusebeian Herald , which turns up during the Heresy bearing some Knights Errant , that's described as utilizing "hybrid technologies" from the Terrawatt Clan, and which the Martian Mechanicum are *pointedly* unaware of .. because it's "heretical". Make of that what you will. 

As applies Eldar contact/influence - one possibility is that the device the Emperor found in the Gobi desert [iirc] that formed the core of the Imperial Webway project may be Eldar [or perhaps Old One] ... but we *also* know that John Grammaticus being contacted by the Cabal took place on Earth during Unification, so it certainly appears that Eldar etc. have turned up on Terra from time to time in the time in question. 

I also .. well, i'd have to check, but it would appear *vvery* likely that various other forge-enclaves and storehouses of knowledge existed on Terra beyond the Terrawatt [those people producing the Adrathic weaponry, asusming it's not all 'relics', for instance; as well as the various genewrights and such producing the super-soldiery genehancements , and the hardware ot arm them with, for other warlords' armies, as another example that's perhaps comparable, albeit in a asomewhat different field. And I forge(t) where Cawl's from] ; certainly a number of people (by which I uh ... htink i may mean The Observer, and myself - no doubt there are other logs i haven't remembered to cite) have done stuff in this area from a fan-canon perspective)]. 

In terms of official fluff, the Lastrum Core Clan *may* be an example, but will need to check what htey were up to in the time-period. 
 

I love this idea! The Unification Wars have really been inspiring me lately, I plan on doing a few Thunder Warriors and Unification era Custodes here soon. I am a big fan of the emphasis on "historical" accuracy, I will certainly be following this thread closely.

 

In your digging, have you uncovered any details regarding Unification Era Custodes equipment? I'm assuming it would be pretty similar to 30k armament, however I don't have any facts to back that up. I'm planning on giving them some pickelhaube like helms reminiscent of earlier heresy artwork to give them a sense of an evolving aesthetic that would be refined in the wars to follow. 

 

 

 

I've been following your log and the relevant entries on it with pleasure, and apologize for neglecting to give it a shout-out in the intro-post. 

Now, we *do* know ... or at least have in-universe somewhat 'secondary' sources [as per usual] to infer from ... a rather surprising amoutn about Custodes hardware during Unification. For a start, we know that Adrathic weaponry was about ... just er ... in a lot more hands than just the Custodes. Up until it wasn't. We *also* know that the 'Apollonian' spear wielded by Valdor was forged during the course of Unification (in fact, arguaably eralier than things really getting into swing) - and it appaers that Custodes' Guardian Spears are in a similar category .. both due to this, and due to mention of them showing up in various pre-Unity states' sculture or archives and such - usually as a rather key part of their incorporation into the Unity  regime, so to speak. 

It's therefore posited that the Custodes are arguably the first .. not 'mass-production', but perhaps 'relatively standardized' genetically altered super-combatants created by the Emperor. Presaging the Thunder Warriors and the Astartes. Although I have also found a rather interesting mention of the Emperor having mortal bodyguards prior to them .. who were experimented upon to create the first Custodes. 

However, as a point of interest, there's also a bit of ambiguity , as another source suggests that the development of the XXth Legion's gene-line was part of waht went into the later Custodes development. Given it's Alpha Legion, there's a *decidedly* Non-zero chance that it's lies , and self-aggrandizing lies at that. Although something i may follow up on in my own projects later , pertaining to the potential 'synergy' there [somewhre between 'plain-clothes bodyguards'/body-doubles ... the Ephoroi ... and serpents guarding, perhaps even like .. is it Athena's shield. Anyway,  I digress]. 

In terms of that lovely image you've posted ... excellent aesthetic, yes - and rather nicer than the somewhat similar Death Guard upgrade helms imo. More "knight-like", but also more armoured and enclosed. Perhaps it's a more void-capable suit of Custodes plate?

Although I had also thought it possible that these might not necessarily be Custodes - but rather some form of Marine or similar in the Emperor's personal service [hence the raptor imperialis], wielding archaic bolt-weapons rather htan guardian spears etc., and perhaps in a grey of unadorned ceramite or something like what the knights errant wind up in. [i'm unsure whether auramite is around on Terra .. but it seems likely, as an aside]. But that is just conjecture on my part. They'd certainly look excellent done as Custodes. 

Anyway, i'm unsure about melta weapons, but I did find mention of a "Jocasta" pattern grav-craft as being around during Unification, so make of that what you will [IHF *might* have done up his conceputalization of one .. i'll have to check] ; and it's also possible that rhinos and such may have been about as well. Defintely some of the relics etc. are explicitly listed as being around for Unification. I also think it's reasonable to infer the Lastrum Core Clan were producing during Unification [althoug potentially more than just the one type of shell ... ] .. which *also* supports the idea that bolt-weaponry was around (after all, guardian spears apparnetly were, presuming that they weren't equipped with different ballistic weaponry) - and i think i've seen reference to "Terran bolter" pattern(s) , on a side note again. 



 

 

A big question is if the Terrawatt clans that supplied the Custodes made any equipment for the rest of the Emperor's forces. They probably couldn't produce things in bulk, but they blow Mars away in quality. You get the feeling they learned a lot from the Eldar. Did any other Terran nations have stuff like that??


From the very first paragraphs of Gorgon of Medusa, they built many thing, as that passage mentions one of the last Techmarines trained in the Urals rather than on Mars.

 

And, ofcourse, the idea of eccentric Russian Eastern Orthodox-style tech-theologians [I forget the precise term - but it's close] buried in an iinitially Soviet-constructed nuclear-proof bunker complex in the Urals is ... very cool, to say the least. Iirc it's where Fulgrim & Ferrus meet for the first time. 

---

Right, i'm sure i'm missing omething rom the previous attempt at a awriteup .. but that's something, anyway :) 


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#6
Luna707

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Does anyone have info on the dreadnought chassis that existed during the Unification Wars. I remember reading somewhere that Thunder Warriors had some sort of dreadnought and that the Custode Sagittarus Malacque was interred in one during the Wars of Unification however I'm not entirely sure 


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#7
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In Retribution it is stated that the Leviathan is of Terran origin and a hybrid of (at least partially) Age of Strife era tech. So, while the Leviathan itself is likely of Terran origin during the Crusade, you could say the chassis or perhaps weapons are Unification War era (which parts date from the Age of Strife isn't stated).

#8
Luna707

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I've started a Custodes vs Thunder Warriors Battle of Mt Ararat diorama, it will definitely take time but I will keep you all in the loop with how it's going! 

 

I just received Valdor and some Adrathic spears in the mail and I'm looking forward to chopping up Constantin and making my own version of him. It will be on a 8" diameter circular display with one of those glass domes and will probably feature six or so removable models (like the FW bases) and all sorts of dead or dying warriors. 

 

I'm definitely open to any suggestions or inspirational art for the project!


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#9
Luna707

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New Thunder Warrior art from Dima Sokolov (https://www.artstation.com/aectann), thought you all would like it. In my opinion it's the coolest one I've seen yet

 

gallery_84811_11431_321262.jpg


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#10
Brother Pheidias

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Not quite grotesque enough for my liking. Too noble and knightly, needs more Primeval RAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!-factor.


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#11
Fenbain

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I really like the art but I agree with the above that it looks a little too noble; makes me think of one of the first Astartes rather than a Thunder Warrior. I reckon I'll use it as inspiration for an Amadeus DuCaine model.

The other issue is the armour. Thunder Warriors had armour (MKI Thunder Armour) where the arms/torso were powered and the legs were not. The arms don't look like they have that capability in the artwork.

Still a cool piece regardless.

Edited by Fenbain, 09 November 2018 - 01:34 PM.


#12
Marshal Rohr

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Observer did a cool conversion of a marine with a GSC autogun and Skitarii helmet and it looked really cool.


Your opinion is important, and someone posting here probably does care what you think. You should go tell them. Remember that it really hurts to come up with an idea you care about and have no one else care. Go care about something and tell them what you think. Now. Think of what it would have meant to you when you were young.

 

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#13
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I dug through a lot of background for Horus Heresy/Great Crusade titbits back before the HH series and BL books expanded on them. While much of the following may have been refined or retconned, it's always fun to go back to roots. Apart from anything else, it's easy to lose sight of the early 'broad brush' stuff amidst the fine detail of the later refinement :)

 

Of little relevance back in the day, but perhaps more interesting now things have been fleshed out, are these extracts:

 

'During the Age of Strife Earth and the other planets of the Terran solar system were unable to communicate with other humans worlds, but maintained contact with each other. For much of this period the government of Earth held sway over the entire system, at other times Mars and the Moon were dominant.' WD129

 

The implication is that technology wasn't necessarily isolated. We know from later notes that volkite (for example) was only replicable by Mars; but that doesn't preclude examples being found on Terra – merely that they'd have to come, directly or indirectly, from Mars. Tribute? Gifts? Booty? Lots of cool narrative possibilities.

 

'During the 28th millennium [Terra] divided into dozens of inter-warring nations. After two and a half thousand years of continuous warfare little remained of the once sophisticated civilisation of the past. The planet had become a battleground fought over by techno-barbarian warlords and their warrior hordes. [...] It was against this background of techno-barbaric warfare that the first Space Marines were created and the first Space Marine Armour type developed.'  ibid.

 

'This first suit of armour is now often referred to as 'Mark 1'. In fact this is the sort of armour worn by the techno-barbarian warriors that dominated the Earth. [...]The thunder-bolt and lightning emblem on the breastplate of this suit was the personal badge of the Emperor in those days, predating the Imeprial eagle which only became the symbol of the Imperium much later. This emblem gives the suit its other common name – Thunder Armour.' ibid.

 

'The helmet and top plume are fairly typical, but these suits were manufactured on an entirely local basis and their exact designs were often a matter of personal taste.' ibid.

 

'During this period most fighting consisted of close combat, warriors preferring to grapple with each other rather than use long range weapons.' ibid.

 

'Warriors equipped in this way fought during all the Emperor's wars on Earth, and also on the Moon and Mars, which have Earth-type atmospheres.' ibid.

 

Quite a lot of this has been explicitly or implicitly ret-conned, but the broad notes are useful for comparison, or as explicit notes to fill in unclear areas.


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#14
Gorgoff

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Very cool summery.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Unification Wars, Unity, Pre-Great Crusade, Wars of Unification, Terra, Techno-Barbarians, Thunder Warriors, Proto-Astartes, Period Accuracy, Terrawatt Clan

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