+ inload: Phalangite Tolga +

Tolga's lungs felt like crispy paper bags. He breathed out raspingly, a pink cloud of aerosolised blood emerging from his helmet's vent-grille. That answers that question, then, he thought ruefully. His armour had let in some of that gas. No time to find the pharmakon – and in any case, the apothecaries had more on their plates than a cough. After that last drive, most of the third Line Company had come limping back with shattered limbs, shredded internals or dragged back unconscious in recuperative sus-an states. 

The latter group were especially fortunate – most casualties were left in the field as a matter of expediency. The Siege was making monsters of everyone. Learning that those loyal to Horus would attempt to extract injured comrades, Imperial Fist recon teams and Mechanicum vis-strike groups had quickly established a tactic of immbolising live casualties and making corpses of any forces attempting to retrieve them. Extracting fallen comrades had essentially become suicide. 

+ Phalangite Tolga +

+ Mark IV plate was readily available to the traitor legions owing to the Warmaster's forward planning. As a result, many amongst the Iron Warriors had inherited a new set of armour, though far from all. Many held on to older customised suits, while others had simply adapted to the peculiarities of their Mark II or III plate. Further complicating this was the high attrition rate of the Isstvan campaign, as the supply of the advanced materials and specialisatoin required for the correct maintenence of Mark IV dwindled. As a result, many suits, Tolga's included, utilised older parts. In this example, the lower legs and pauldrons are older Mark II sets. Judging by the heavy damage to both, they may well be taken from Tolga's own old set of plate. +

+ While not completely interchangeable, the various marks of power armour were (and remain) largely compatible. The adaptation and refinement of armour to personal preference was particularly marked in the IV Legion from the very first, and Tolga is pictured with additional plates to help cover the exposed soft armour of the undersuit at the hip joint. Legionary warfare was a famously close affair, and the covering of a potential vulnerability such as this could make the difference between life and death. +

+ Tolga has sustained heavy damage to his right pauldron, with a clear shearing stroke – likely made with a powered blade – cutting through the plate and rim of the shoulde rpad. The benefit of simple markings becomes clear, as the bold vertical yellow stripe still marks him out as a member of XIX Muster. +

+ Tolga's trailing leg bears an honorific Legion skull and scroll on the knee area, marking him out as a veteran of the Rock of Judgement campaign. He bears a standard Tigrus-pattern boltgun, an advanced and compact boltgun whose only minor drawback was the relatively short magazine, which bore just twenty-five bolt rounds. +

+ A treatise on Mark IV +

+ Although some Legions, such as the Luna Wolves, had been using Mark IV extensively even before Ullanor, the mark was still relatively new by the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. The armour was intended as a complete replacement for all Astartes – a new beginning following the hard years of Crusade that benefitted from the hard-won knowledge of the Crusade. Mark IV incorporated all of the innovations retrieved by the Mechanicum over the course of two centuries, and performed better in almost every respect to earlier marks, even taking into account specialist suits such as the tunnel-fighting suits of Mark III. +

+ In addition to practical matters, Mark IV was to be a propaganda tool. From Ullanor onwards, the vision was for all Astartes to wear gleaming, uniform Mark IV, whether serving as a tactical squad member, breacher, recon, assault or artillery specialist. From one spiral arm to the other, Imperial Maximus armour was set to become iconic imagery known by Imperial and Xeno alike. +

+ To this end, Kelbor-Hal, the Fabricator General of Mars itself, issued a Bull that all Mark IV was to hold a uniform visual pattern design, regardless of the Forge World from which it was commissioned, or on what planet it was manufactured under license. Such was the control that the Imperium commanded over galactic communications immediately post-Ullanor that the new armour mark saw fewer variations than any other, even taking into account its short existence. +

+ The superior nature of the engineering and materials used in its manufacture mean that the Mechanicum could follow the standing orders and disguise changes under the standard chassis, maintaining visual uniformity. The advances and rediscovered knowledge from the lost Forge Worlds returning to the folds largely meant that this was possible, though it added considerably to the complexity of the armour and made its manufacture slow, particularly in galactic backwaters and far-flung Forge Worlds. +

+ As a result, shipments of the plate were only gradually replacing the earlier marks in use by the Legions – including the more bespoke variants developed by individual Legions, such as the Ultramarines' Praetor-pattern plate, or the Sing-pattern recon suits of the White Scars – as hostilities began during the Horus Heresy. +

+ The dream of galactic uniformity amongst the Astartes' was never realised. At the time of the Isstvan III atrocity, barely half the Astartes Legions had received shipments. Even amongst those issued the advanced plate, the fine engineering work caused by the adherence to a visual design meant that it was difficult to repair and maintain, and as a result local versions of the suit sprang up almost immediately. These bastardised versions, often made from inferior locally-sourced material, or backwards-engineered and jury-rigged from existing supplies were jokingly referred to as 'Mark V' suits. The appellation stuck. +

1 comment:

  1. Just stunning work as ever. I will need to try look over your tutorial for creating these guys again and see what parts a rather more basic converter like me can do.


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