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I am, justifiably, well known on the B&C for a complete inability to complete a painting/modelling project. And so it proves once more, I can’t face the red/black of the Exorcists, I like the scheme, I’ve almost finished the first model but I’ve no real stomach for more.

I’ve also tried the Marines Malevolent but yellow/black is no better than red/black. So the search begins for a good looking, simple to paint scheme for Space Marines. At the same time I don’t want to do anything too common and I’d like to link it to Armageddon of course.

Which brings me to the Hunters of Sirius. I’ve decided to break from my own traditions of only painting official GW Chapters and to try and create a Chapter of my own from scratch. Here’s the first draft of the colour scheme, an assault Marine ‘cos that’s what I’ve got undercoated and ready to go.

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and in mythology was the canine companion of the hunter Orion. On top of all that it’s a nice word to say out loud. Give it a go, it’s wonderfully sibilant and lends itself to drawn out, whispered utterings.

For the story behind the Chapter I’m thinking that the following will characterise the Chapter:

  • The Chapter are renowned Ork hunters, they specialise in eradicating Ork infestations from Imperial worlds
  • Given eradication takes years, decades or even centuries the Chapter essentially sets up home on the planet its cleansing (recruiting, armour/weapons/ammo production etc.) and moves on when a planet is cleansed
  • The Chapter always, no exceptions, deploys 100% of its strength to a planet for cleansing
  • The Chapter is fresh from the Scouring of Wyngarden, a 30 year long struggle to cleanse Orks from a swamp planet, it’s strength is approximately 700 and rising as it recovers from the carnage of the recent cleansing, always the hardest
  • The Astartes of the Hunters of Sirius swear to cleanse a planet or die, the Chapter command realises that in the case of Armageddon it is a case of ‘them or us’ such as they’ve never faced before especially as they have yet to receive recruiting permission from Armageddon Command

Look for the first WIP pics of the first Hunter soon…

Supply Drop!

19.08.2009

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Another day, another post, I think I might finally be getting the hang of this blogging business!

Nothing major today, I ducked into town on an extended lunch break today to grab some supplies, you can see today’s goodies below together with an up to the minute pic of JO-D:

On the left is one of the P3 pseudo-sable synthetic brushes that’ve been around for awhile that I’ve had an itch to try out. I’ve used synthetic brushes forever and a day, Taklon is a good friend of mine, but Brother Argos swears by W&N’s 7 series brushes and on his urging I picked one up ages ago and never really got around to trying it out until this week. Long story short, despite the near mythical status of the 7 series I didn’t enjoy the transition from Taklon to sable at all and I’m hoping the P3 brush will help ease me across the border in the coming months. We’ll see…

Top right is JO-D, fully assembled and with some green stuff gap filling done. The join at the rear torso is abominable, there’s a difference of 2 or 3mm in thickness between the end of the fuselage and start of the tail assembly. As a result they look awfully mismatched and I’ve been trying to minimise the difference with some GS bodging.

In the end JO-D’s maintenance flaws may switch from cracks in the rudder to the loss of the entire tail unit as a result. It was an actual problem for early models of the Hawker Typhoon in WW2 actually, the whole tail section would come away under stress and occasionally even under normal loads due to structural issues and poor quality joins and glues so it’s not unbelievable poor maintenance could cause such issues here.

Below JO-D is some GF9 ‘concrete’ I picked up on a whim. The container has a nice mix of fine ‘dust’, slivers, chips, lumps, bricks and giant lumps of ‘concrete’. The broken areas have a nice texture too, though the intact bits are maybe  a tad smooth.

Finally we’ve got some Testors Dull Cote, I love this stuff but damn it’s hard to find sometimes! And alongside it are some P3 paints that I think might work well as the base colours for JO-D’s camouflage pattern. Is P3 the old Citadel paint line? Or is that Cote D’arms? Or someone else. Either way, it’s a nice grey-green and a muddy brown I’m looking forward to testing out…

And finally, I picked up the Series 7 this evening for one last try:

As usual I hate highlighting black and getting the back pack to stay on was a complete pain in the fundament. I also stuck the servo-skull back to the base so this guy is finished modelling-wise, now to knock over the painting details…

And I also picked up the new Black Library book ‘Emperor’s Mercy‘. I’m digging the new style of cover, the embossed silver title looks great. I’m intrigued by the ‘A Bastion Wars Novel’ tacked on the front too.

I’ll let you know if it’s any good soon…

Marauder ‘JO-D’

18.08.2009

POSTED IN Blog, Featured | 6 COMMENTS TAGS : , ,

So I’ve been thinking about my somewhat bodgy Marauder Destroyer mini. Some folks reckoned I should call FW and ask for replacement parts and I though about it, a lot, and eventually decided I couldn’t complain about a model I’d bought in January 2007 (I checked the receipt and damned if it isn’t 2.5 years!), I just don’t have that much chutzpah. I tried a few things to fix the thin patches and the wobbly bits and so forth but wasn’t really happy with the results. So I stripped everything back to bare resin and had a think about it.

And inspiration struck a few hours ago, I was thinking about Marauder ‘JO-D’ which I’ve mentioned in some of the 609th’s growing history and a light bulb appeared above my head. Why not make this not-so swish Destroyer JO-D? Nothing I’ve written precludes it that I can recall and I can always ret-con anything that does, right?

So below are some pics of an even more battered Marauder mini than FW sent me. In game it can either serve as a characterful mini or as an objective so that’s a bonus too.

The flak hole was created by the simple expedient of pressing gently on the razor thin resin area with a scultping tool. It’s quite  a nice irregular shape actually, it looks quite good. The damaged area near the port intakes/vents was just as thin but broke more regularly. You can also see a lot of the gaps that need filling from this angle.

Here I took the more regular broken resin near the intakes and used a good old fashioned pin vice to drill some holes representing small calibre cannon-fire. As a result of this damage JO-D has lost hydraulic pressure on the starboard side causing the undercarriage skid on this side only to drop free.

Flak damage = paper thin resin once more sadly. Or maybe it should be vice-versa?

Sadly difficult to see even after I played with contrast/brightness is the poor join where I had to glue the rudder back together after I accidentally snapped it while putting the rest of the tail together. I blame poor FW quality control rather than clumsiness for the damage on this occasion. I think this crack will stand out nicely when she’s painted and if not I’ll ink/paint/weathering powder the area so it does.

This last damage will be the crux of the matter in the loss of JO-D, for Marauders of all stripes are incredibly tough and this kind of damage wouldn’t down one. Those cracks in the rudder however would turn out to fatal and when the wreck was examined would turn out to be due to lack of maintenance. This lack would be traced to Wertheimer and his cronies and lead the their eventual arrests.

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And for those of you with wives/girlfriends/significant others out there, do you get this kind of reaction from your family?

I was doing my research on the IN the other day when my lovely lady wife walked into the study to find me carefully marking up a 40K novel like it was one of my university texts. She smirked, sniggered, patted me on the head and walked out of the room shaking her head and fighting a grin. I’m pretty sure I heard howls of laughter from the other end of the house shortly after…

Imperial Navy Aircrew (1)

17.08.2009

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The Imperial Navy’s aircrew are an elite body, for every aviator there are a dozen or more failed recruits and for each washed out recruit there are hundreds more would-be aviators who failed to even reach the training stages. Even the humblest cargo shuttle pilot has passed tests and challenges which would confound most of his fellow sailors and is an individual a cut above the conscripts and recruits who fill the vast majority of the Imperial Navy’s ranks. Even the groundcrew, clerks and menials of the Aviation Branch consider themselves better than their big ship Navy counterparts, a piece of bravura which often leads to tension and occasionally violence between the two types of sailor.

Another unique aspect of service in either aviation branch is the limited role that the Navy’s systems of familial lineage and patronage play in advancement and assignments. Navy families and indeed the Navy itself, see the greatest glory in service with the big ships, battleships and the like, and it is here that the patronage game is played the hardest leaving the aviation branches relatively untouched. Ironically in the 41st millennium both aviation branches have seen the rise of a new kind of clique, this time based on the old-boy’s networks of the Schola Progenium and it is not unusual to see Schola graduates favoured by their commanders, usually Schola alumni themselves, in much the same way as familial patronage works in the rest of the Navy.

Recruitment

Imperial Navy aircrew are drawn from three sources - the Navy’s own Schola Progenium, volunteer recruits and, more rarely, from the ranks of the Navy’s technical and mechanical ratings. The Schola Progenium are the largest source of aircrew, particularly pilots, and the Schola on Imperial Navy worlds are rightly famed for the aces and commanders raised from their ranks. Entry into a Navy Schola  requires that one, or more often both, parents of the child have died on active duty in the Imperial Navy. A number of ancient and prestigious Navy Schola have further requirements such as both parents having been commissioned officers or having died honourably in combat and not simply on active service. In the case of the famed Schola Progenium Mackensen, attached to the Navy’s Gothic sector headquarters, at least one parent must be the holder of the Cochrane Starburst, one of the Navy’s highest awards.

The lifelong training and conditioning of Schola graduates fosters greater than usual levels of dedication, even fanaticism, to the Imperial cause, a desirable trait in the face of typically high aircrew casualties. Schola life also provides graduates with a wider variety of military skills, their long, arduous training encompassing in depth analysis of tactics, weapons theory, aerodynamics and the like that older entrants into the training system are unable to match.  Whilst the majority of Schola graduates opt for Orbital Branch aircrew assignments there are still many who are drawn to the romance and history attached to the Aviation Branch, linked as it is to the Imperium’s earliest days,  and many of it’s most famous members were educated and trained in a Navy Schola.

Aircrew volunteers come from two very different sources, the first is best described as the daughters and younger sons of Navy families who see the dangerous but glamorous job of aviator as a way to draw attention from older siblings to themselves. Given the role that family lineage and patronage play in the Navy, particularly for officers, it is not uncommon for families to expend all their political capital and favours to secure a prime posting for the oldest son or sons, leaving few means of advancement for any daughter or junior son who also wishes to join the Navy. Aircrew duty, though more dangerous than life on a cruiser or battleship, also offers more opportunities for advancement and recognition independent of the Navy’s patronage systems. Most female aircrew in the Navy have joined via this path and whilst many have gone on to great things yet more have suffered the all too common fate of young Imperial aviators - death on a distant world or in the depths of space.

The second source of volunteer aircrew recruitment is from the ranks of would-be Navy conscripts. When given the choice between joining the chain-gangs deep in the bowels of a Navy battleship or trying out as aircrew many a new conscript has stepped forward at the petty officer’s barked command. Typically these men and women form the rank and file f the aviation  branches, their roles ranging from aircraft maintenance and clerking to the less-recognised aircrew roles such as Gunner or Cargo Master.

The final source of aircrew for the Imperial Navy is from within its own technical ranks, many aircrew roles, such as Flight Engineer or Vox Operator require a degree of technical knowledge and expertise most often found in the ranks of maitenance crews. Such men are offered incentives such as flight pay, promotions and relief from the more unpleasant duties of their trade in exchange for service aboard an aircraft. Such offers are rarely refused although it is difficult to say whether this is due to these  inducements or because refusal almost always brings a raft of unwelcome and unpleasant assignments for the unlucky sailor.

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The following ‘Imperial Navy Aircrew’ posts will deal with the Armageddon sector Aviation Branch more specifically, providing details of selection, training and the typical combat experience of IN aircrew on Armageddon. Hopefully after that I can fill in the basic org chart and rank details for the Av. Branch in general and the 609th specifically, I’d also really like to do some character profiles for famous 609th members during this stage too.

Junior Officer’s Dress Cap

This cap belonged to Ensign Sebastian Fontein of the 266th Fighter Squadron. Fontein was one of the Squadron’s first casualties, being brought down by an Ork Fighta on the first day of counter-invasion operations whilst pressing home an attack run against one of the enemy Roks descending on Armageddon. His sacrifice was not in vain, his final attack severing a number of fuel lines and causing the Rok to fall out of control to its destruction. For his actions Fontein was awarded the Cross of Armageddon (3rd class) and mentioned in Admiral Parol’s dispatches to the High Lords of Terra.

Note the brass Teyrn Dragon emblem of the Squadron in place of the standard Aquila. An unthinkable practice in most of the Imperial Navy such changes are tolerated within the Aviation Branch as part of its unique esprit-de-corps and as a sign of the relative independence of the branch.

Navigator’s Dress Tunic

This dress tunic belonged to Navigator Roboute Gorgo of the 463rd Bomber Flight, 609th Fighter Wing. Gorgo was Navigator aboard Marauder ‘JO-D’ when it went down early in the war due to lack of maintenance as a result of the racketeering of the 609th’s pre-war commander, Silas Wertheimer.

Non-pilot aviators typically hold rank as Warrant Officers, this gives them a status between that of a commissioned officer and a senior non-commissioned officer. Gunners are an exception to this rule and may rank anywhere between Rating and the senior NCO ranks depending on their experience. As such the uniforms and accoutrements of non-pilot aircrew are simpler and plainer than those of the commissioned counterparts.

1. Rank Insignia

The simple insignia of a Second Warrant Officer (2WO), the most junior warrant rank. It consists of a small patch in Navy black bordered in silver with a single silver bar across the patch. Also just visible are the two silver cuff buttons of a Warrant Officer. This compares to three gold buttons for officers, one silver button for NCOs and a plain black plastic button for other ranks.

2. Trouser Stripes

Stripes running down the outside of the trouser legs indicate the wearer’s branch, in this case light blue for Aviation.

3. Navigator’s Wing and Ribbon Bar

Aircrew are identified by the half wing and letter borne on the right breast, in this case a stylised ‘N’ identifies the wearer as a Navigator. A variety of other designations also exist including :

  • B - Bombardier
  • G - Gunner
  • E - Flight Engineer
  • V - Vox Operator
  • C - Cargo Master

Unusually Gorgo’s tunic also bears the green, white and purple ribbon of the Valoris Aeronautica, awarded during the 609th’s actions on Brant shortly before the outbreak of the Third War. Most Imperial decorations go to pilots in the Aviation branch, their position as commissioned officers as well as their role as captain of a bomber crew or, as fighter pilots,  gallant knights of the air mean that the lion’s share of recognition goes to them.

4. Epaulettes and Collar Insignia

Note the simple epaulettes and collar insignia of non-pilot aircrew, compare this to the intricate regalia of their commissioned counterparts.

5. Tunic Pockets, Belt & Material

Unlike the closely fitted, high quality dress tunics worn by officers non-pilot aircrew wear a simple dark blue version of the standard Navy utility tunic. Note the pockets and belt absent from the officers’ version as well as the plain buttons and lower quality cloth of the tunic in general. Unlike officers, who must outfit themselves from their own funds, non-pilot aircrew are issued their dress tunic and most are happy enough to wear the simpler tunic in exchange for more spending money in their rare periods of leave.

Unofficial squadron patch of the 266th Squadron, 609th Fighter Wing, Imperial Navy.

Worn only on undress and flight uniforms this patch depicts the fearsome Teyrn Dragon, a native of the planet Caledonia which is home to one of the largest Schola Avia in the Imperium. The laurel wreath was added to the insignia in the closing stages of the 3rd Armageddon War to signify the award of the Imperial Navy Unit Commendation for its efforts in the defense of Armageddon.

The patch is typically produced in subdued colours so as not to attract attention in combat and forward zones.

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Formal dress tunic belonging to Wing Commander Iven Macroy of the 609th Fighter Wing, Imperial Navy.

This is the standard formal tunic of officers of the Imperial Navy’s Aviation Branch. Unlike their counterparts of the Orbital Branch their uniform is the dark blue rather than the pure black of space. Their atmospheric duties are further emphasised by the light blue braiding and piping signifying the blue skies of ancient Terra where Imperial pilots first took to the skies in the Emperor’s service.

1. Aerial Victor insignia

This golden lightning bolt, a traditional symbol of the Emperor and service to him, is the mark of the Ace, a pilot with 5 or more confirmed aerial kills. Once awarded this decoration a pilot is also entitled to have it painted on his aircraft, typically beneath the sill of his canopy.

Note that this award is reserved for pilots only, aircraft gunners are not eligible for this award nor an equivalent.

2. Rank insignia

The three pale blue stripes and white silk slash indicate the rank of Wing Commander.

3. Pilot’s Wings & Ribbon Bar

The coveted wings of the pilot are traditionally cast from adamantium and are the mark of one of the Imperium’s elite warriors, less than 3% of pilot candidates are awarded their wings. Wing Commander Macroy’s ribbon bar shows his many decorations including the Armageddon Honorifica (1st Class) and the Navy’s Cochrane Starburst, its equivalent of the Macharian Cross.

4. Aviation Branch insignia

The laurel wreath and shield motif of the Aviation Branch is visible on  the stiff collar of the tunic. The shield is inscribed with the likeness and name of the world where the pilot underwent his Scholam Avia training, the tunic buttons are inscribed with highly decorative Aquila.

Non-pilot aircrew wear silver buttons with simple Aquilas and are not entitled to the laurel wreaths nor to depict the world on which they trained on the collar tabs.

5. Lanyard & Aiguillette

The braided cord running from shoulder down to the opposite side of the chest is the traditional officer’s lanyard, the second braid indicates Macroy’s status as a Commanding Officer. Wing Commander Macroy also bears four aiguillettes, an unusually high number, each signifying service in a different Imperial Crusade (the Majeste, Seach, Cornwallis and Audax Crusades).

Found it at last!

Shadow Point that is, it was buried in a box but I found it eventually. Here are the snippets of IN attack craft info gleaned from it:

General Info

  • Marauders & Thunderbolts launched from converted Escort Carrier spaceships to fight Orks in vacuum in Mather System, Gothic Sector
  • IN successfully tests Rok destroying torpedoes during battles in Mather system (year unknown)
  • Shadow Point p.90 ‘…Squadrons of Marauder bombers targeted one of the roks, seeking vengeance for the damage done to their escor carrier motherships. The Marauders - smaller, less well-armed and less well-suited for deep space combat - still excelled under the conditions of this battle, their atmosphere-capable configurations allowing them to manoeuvre at ease amongst the asteroid field…’
  • Notes Marauders using plasma bombs and armour piercing missiles

Personnel

  • Aube Terraco (rank?) is Arrow Sqn commander. 80+ kills
  • Amic Kaether 100+kills
  • Reth ‘Zealot’ Zane is highest scoring ‘Mach’ pilot with 200+ kills, Storm Sqn. Flies with Servitor Navigator rather than Tech-Adept Navigator.

Fury Details

  • Lord Solar Macharius (nickname ‘Mach’)  is carrying 4 Fury squadrons - Hornet, Storm, Hurricane & Arrow
  • Fury fighters adapted for ’specialist recon duties’ used to help target Nova cannon barrages
  • Quad las-cannons in nose mount
  • Afterburner equipped
  • Autocannon part of armament, poss. rear turret (?)

Not much, though the info on Thunderbolts & Marauders in space muddies the waters a little. Still, if Starhawks are 200 tonnes and Thunderhawks (not ‘bolts, ‘hawks!) are 120t must be damnably large craft. Same for Furies, they appear to be bigger than the 40+ ton Marauder so I’m still inclined to have the two separate branches - Aerospace and Aviation - and whilst they might occasionally operate on each others’ turf they specialise in their own. All of which means I need to create a framework for aircraft rather than aerospace craft for the 609th. With that in mind I’ll probably lean more towards Air Force conventions than Navy conventions, though I’d like to sketch out some Aerospace stuff one day too.

As an aside am I the only one who hates it when an author goes down the Imperium/Eldar must band together reluctantly to save the universe route? There’ve been 3 or 4 BL books take that path, there was the Deathwatch one, the Rogue Trader one and this one, plus some short stories if not another book. *Yawn*

Apologies for the lack of updates folks, real life interferes with the good stuff all too often for my liking. Still, my time has not been wasted, here’s the next batch of facts and figures for the Imperial Navy, mostly drawn from ‘Execution Hour’ by Gordon Rennie and mostly concerning spaceborne Navy aircraft.

  • Starhawk Bomber Squadrons Firedrake, Harbinger, Mantis & Nemesis (Lord Solar Macharius) + unknown number of other Starhawk squadrons
  • Full strength bomber squadron is 10 Starhawks
  • Flight & Gunnery crews v. competitive for kills/honour
  • Fury Interceptor Squadrons Storm & Hornet (Lord Solar Macharius) + unknown number of additonal Fury squadrons.
  • Full strength Fury squadron is 15 Furies in 3 flights of 5 including a Command Flight
  • Fury squadrons often fight as flights but sometimes break down in wingman formations for close engagements.
  • Range of space fighters/bombers limited by fuel and oxygen in particular

Personnel

  • Nemesis Squadron commanded by Squadron Commander Milos Caparan
  • Top Gunner aboard Sqn Cdr Caparan’s Starhawk is Gunner First Class Daksha (16 enemy fighter kills to his credit)
  • Bombardier aboard Sqn Cdr Caparan’s Starhawk isBombardier Georgi Kustrin (is Bombardier a rank or title?)
  • Co-pilot Madik Torr
  • Storm Squadron (Fury) commander is Amic Kaether (rank?), his Navigator/Gunner is  Tech-Adept Manetho

Starhawk Details

  • Crew: Pilot, Co-Pilot, Tech Adept (w/ 4 onboard servitor drones), Navigator, Bombardier, Gunners (Top Gunner, Tail Gunner + unknown)
  • Armament: 10 plasma warhead missiles
  • Starhawk weight is approx. 200 tonnes
  • Engines: 4 wing mounted engines
  • Limited defence shield (energy/void?) capacity in addition to armour

Fury Details

  • Armament: Nose mounted lascannon (#?), wing mounted missiles (krak)
  • Crew: Pilot, Tech-Adept Navigator/Rear Gunner
  • Maneveur via thrusters as well as engines
  • Not atmosphere capable at all (?)
  • Limited defence shield (energy/void?) capacity in addition to armour

So, some interesting information but nothing mind-blowing. Given the info we have so far I’m inclined to firmly split space and airborne aircraft into two very distinct groups, into essentially two branches of the same service.

I love ForgeWorld, I have for a long time and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve got buckets of FW stuff in the drawer next to my knee as I type this very entry. I’ve got Red Scorpions, Elysians, the magnificent Rhino Damocles Command Vehicle that I can’t bring myself to assemble for fear of ruining it with an inadequate paintjob and lots lots more. I also think that the Imperial Armour books are better than most of the stuff GW has put out recently and that they rival the BL campaign books in many ways in terms of the pure fluff enjoyment I derive from them.

But…but, they frequently fail to live up to my expectations given what I pay for their product. The art in their books is too reliant on Photoshopping the same models again and again (and I acknowledge I’ve done that for this blog already, difference is I’m not selling this to anyone nor do I have an art department behind me to diversify my image catalogue). And the models, well, get a nice early production piece and they’re tremendous, the detail is spot on, there’s hardly any warping and in general they’re everything you could hope for. Get a bad batch or a late production cast and all bets are off though.

Like my Marauder Destroyer, which was bought years ago when it first came out, in fact, I think I ordered it within a fortnight or so of release, so there’s not even the excuse of it being from the end run of a mold.

1. Complete Marauder Destroyer Model:

2. One of several razor thin areas that will need repair/strengthening prior to assembly and painting. Advice gratefully received on this work - greenstuff, plasticard, thick CA glue spread across the exisiting areas, some sort of wall putty?

3. Tailplane section: note warped rudder (which is also cracked, the section where it joins the fuselage is only joined on the rear 1/3rd or so) and warped stabiliser (right hand side of photo).

4. Hellstrike missiles. I think. There are a total of 12 of these with my kit, some have what might be pylons, others don’t and they’re all poor casts, perhaps 3 or 4 might be salvageable for actual use, the rest might end up as scenery, they’d make neat expended or dud missiles embedded in mud or something at least.

All in all I’m disappointed with this model. There’s plenty of detail, it’s a great looking aircraft and the rules for it are pretty swish too, but there are too many issues on this particular model for me to consider this reasonable value for money given it’s cost me roughly $30AU to buy it and get it shipped over (with a couple of other models). And that’s the problem with FW, if you’re going to charge an arm and a leg for a product then you need to make sure you get it right, each and every time and they don’t. As a customer I feel shortchanged by this aircraft and I’ll be damned sure that on my next FW order I will mock assemble everything as soon as it arrives and if everything isn’t in reasonable order they’ll definitely be hearing from me.

I’d also urge anyone else out there seduced by FW’s detail or the variety they offer compared to regular GW plastics that you too check everything carefully as soon as it arrives. When FW gets things right it’s one of the best things in the hobby for me, they just don’t get it right often enough…

Although I haven’t yet made any of my ‘First Five Days’ material public I have been slowly working on it when work and uni permit, one major problem I’m having though is fitting the details into a solid, GW canonised background. As most of our readers will be aware there’s a dearth of material on the Imperial Navy in general and how it handles aircraft as opposed to spacecraft in particular. So, what details are there out there about the IN, especially with regards to bombers, fighters and the like?

Well, I’ll catalogue what I’ve got so far and hopefully some of our readers and other bloggers will be able to chip in with some other sources and tidbits too. Once we’ve got all the info we can find I plan to create a workable background for Imperial Navy flyers that I can adhere to for the rest of the 609th material I produce.

So, what do we need to know?

Personnel

  • Ranks
  • Awards
  • Titles
  • Training
  • Period of service

Aircraft Types

Organisation

  • Squadrons
  • Wings
  • Larger formations? (’Air Armies’ like the 8th Air Force or 2nd Tactical Air Force of WW2?)

Air/Space differences
Do IN units specialise in orbital or atmospheric combat? Are there distinctions between the two types of unit?

Imperial Guard
We know that the IG don’t field ‘fast-movers’, aircraft like Lightnings and Thunderbolts that is, except for the Phantine squadrons. Why? Did Guilliman ban it in the same way he banned the Astartes from commanding IG units? It would make sense certainly, but where do the Phantine fit into that?

PDF
PDF and militia flyers are mentioned in several locations, particularly Dan Abnett’s novel ‘Double Eagle’. What role do they play? Are they subordinate to the Navy or Guard? Are they ever drafted into the IN, like PDF units are into the IG?

And then we get to what we know about IN aircraft in the 3rd Armageddon War.

So those are the questions. Below are the answers I can come up with:

Aircraft Types

  • Thunderbolt - ‘heavy’ fighter, orbit capable but not a ’starfighter’ ♦ ‘Double Eagle’ notes Thunderbolts have some thrust vectoring capability♣
  • Lightning - ‘light’ fighter, orbit capable, no details if ’starfighter’ , recent addition to IN ranks, STC rediscovered Karnak III♦
  • Valkyrie - airborne assault carrier, crewed by the elite of the IN ♦
  • Vulture - multi-role gunship, atmospheric ops only ♦
  • Fury - a true ’starfighter’, interceptor, appears roughly analogous to Thunderbolt ♦
  • Starhawk - ’starfighter’, bomber, minor details noted in BFG (BFG)
  • Aquila Lander - light personnel shuttle, orbit capable ♦
  • Arvus Lighter - light cargo shuttle, orbit capable ♦
  • Marauder - medium (?) bomber, interdiction bomber ♦
  • Marauder Destroyer - Marauder variant first used during 2nd Armageddon, close air support and ground attack aircraft, crewed by ‘handpicked IN pilots’ ♦
  • Marauder Vigilant - Marauder variant, support aircraft with C3, EW, ESM etc. equipment ◊
  • Marauder Colossus - Marauder variant, payload is one very large guided bomb, used for special target types only ◊

Organisation

  • Standard Imperial formation appears to be the Wing. Wings seem to be deployed as such rather than as individual squadrons (no specific source, simply the most commonly mentioned formation), although Phantine units seem to be deployed as ‘Flights’ (squadron sized units).
  • 717th Fighter Wing consisted of 10 squadrons, each of approx. 20 aircraft during Siege of Vraks ♥
  • 1099th Bomber Wing consisted of 7 squadrons, each of approx. 12 aircraft during Siege of Vraks ♥
  • IA Vol 6 implies that squadrons can be of mixed aircraft models if of same type, i.e. Thunderbolts & Lightnings in one squadron, or multiple Marauder variants ♥
  • One bomber wing & one fighter wing appear to be total IN aerial assets committed to liberation of Vraks, a Forge World, may offer some perspective on potential deployment sizes in other battle zones? ♥
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests Valkyries and possibly Vultures are attached to specific IG regiments rather than used as separate IN formations
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests most pilots/aircrew are male and that there is a bias against female aircrew ♣

Known Units/Actions

Sabbat Crusade, Enothian War, 772. M41 ♣

  • 63rd Imperial Fighter Wing ‘Sundogs’, notable member (commander?) Flight Commander (?) Leksander Godel (40 kills)
  • 409 Raptors (Fighter Wing?), commander Wing Leader Ortho Blaguer (110 kills)
  • 567th Fighter Wing
  • 786th Fighter Wing, Lightnings
  • 96th Fighter Wing, Thunderbolts
  • 101st Fighter WIng, ‘The Apostles’ - wing  of celebrated aces (members include: Quint, Wing Leader Etz Sekan (CO), Harlsson, Major Suhr, Captain Guis Gettering)
  • Fleet Admiral Ornoff appears to be senior aviation officer on Enothis
  • 42 Fighter Wings, 16 bomber flights deployed to Enothis (also listed as ‘58 Wings’)
  • ‘Battle of the Zonophian Sea’, multi-day (weeks?) battle on Enothis. Imperial losses 948, Arch-Enemy losses (claimed) 7840

Taros Intervention (Imperial Armour 3)

  • Fighter Wings: 83rd, 386th, 1002nd, 2774th
  • Bomber Wings: 5012st, 2424th

Siege of Vraks (IA 6)

  • 717th Fighter Wing consisted of 10 squadrons, each of approx. 20 aircraft
  • 1099th Bomber Wing consisted of 7 squadrons, each of approx. 12 aircraft

Third Armageddon War (Codex: Armageddon)

  • Imperial Fleet lists 43 Bomber Strike Wings and 67 Interceptor Strike Wings on its strength. Presumably these are Furies and Starhawks but no details are provided.
  • Furies may have been used from ground bases as well as fleet units
  • 2-3500 Ork Fighta Bommer squadrons listed as being present at 3rd AW plus 2100+ Ork attack craft (spaceborne/capable aircraft???)

Personnel

Flight Personnel Ranks (in approx. order of seniority), no info on groundcrew available

  • Wing Sergeant (WS in IA is noted as being second in command of 83rd IN Fighter Wing, ‘Eagle’ squadron) ♦
  • Flight Commander/Commander (sep. ranks?) ♣
  • Captain ♣
  • Wing Leader ♣
  • Fleet Admiral ♣

PDF Aviation

  • Aircraft Type: KT4  Wolfcub (pulse (rocket) engines, quad cannon (nose mounted) )
  • Aircraft Type: Cyclone (twin piston engined, delta form, ‘Interceptor pattern’, twin seat)
  • Personnel: Rank: Pilot Cadet
  • Personnel: Rank: Major (appears equivalent to IN Wing Leader)
  • Personnel: Rank: Air Commander
  • Planet Enothis air units known as ‘Enothian Commonwealth Air Force’, part of PDF

Imperial Air Force

  • Only known units are Phantine or ‘Imperial Phantine Air Corps’ (’only founded IG regiment who are fliers’)
  • XXI Wing ‘Halo Flight’, deployed as part of reinforcements to Enothian War 772.M41, Sabbat Crusade
  • Halo Flight was equipped with Marauders and commanded by Captain Oskar Viltry, strength 12 aircraft & crews
  • Aircraft nicknames appear permissible, known nicknames ‘K forKillshot’, ‘Widowmaker’, ‘G for Greta’ (aka ‘Gee Force Greta’), ‘Hello Hellfire, ‘Throne of Terra’, ‘Mamzel Mayhem’, ‘Get Them All Back’, ‘Consider Yourself Dead’,  likely based on aircraft serial numbers or aircraft markings with a squadron
  • XX Wing ‘Umbra Flight’ commanded by Commander Jadgea Bree,  equipped with Thunderbolts, strength is 12 pilots & aircraft
  • XX Wing ‘Obris Flight’ commanded by Wilhem Hayyes
  • Ranks: Pilot Officer, Commander (Flight Commander?), Captain (seniority unknown between Cdr & Capt.)
  • Umbra Flight flys as three flights, each of 4 aircraft
  • As part of IG can recruit from PDF units unlike the Navy which either doesn’t or isn’t permitted to do so

Sources:

  • Aeronautica Imperialis
  • ◊ FW website
  • ♥ Imperial Armour Vol. 6
  • ♣ ‘Double Eagle’
  • Codex: Armageddon
  • Imperial Armour 3