30K: Legions Had Cops!


Yup, it’s confirmed. The space marines had police to keep them in line.  Take a look.

Once upon a time in 1987 Space Marines were young.  GW was roughing out their basic concepts, chapters and background.  Rogue Trader had this seminal image that kicked off the whole thing:


Most of the original chapters who would go down through the ages like the Dark Angels and Space Wolves were there.  Some became evolutionary dead ends like the Rainbow Warriors, rarely heard of again.  Still there was a lot of 1980s weirdness on this page like this:


Field Police?  WTF?  Space Marines are utterly loyal super soldiers with iron discipline. Why on Terra would they need MPs?  In any case remember that logo up there.


Fast forward 30 years to the latest Forge World book – INFERNO. Feast your eyes on this:


Recognise that shoulderpad symbol?  “Field Overseer Militant Authority” sounds a whole lot like Field Police to me.  Even more interesting is the tale of the Molorian Revolt which tells a story very much at odds with the cold professional killers mystique we associate with marines.  It appears that at least at the very early origin of the Legions, marines were still very much individuals and could get carried away in the field – hence the Field Police. It is noted that the two legions with the most of these personnel were the VIth (Space Wolves) and the XIIth (World Eaters).

It’s another very cool little asterisk to the tale of marines and maybe a cool way to mark out a single model in your 30K army – if you think your force represents the type of soliders who might get carried away from time to time.



  • Moonsaves

    Hmm… reading it, they seem an awful lot like Commissars…

    • OldHat

      Yup. I got that too.

    • euansmith

      “It’s beginning to look a lot like Commissars
      Ev’rywhere you go;
      Take a look in the holding pen, glistening once again
      With punishment canes and shockbatons aglow.”

      • jmaximum

        THAT, sir, is Emperormas card worthy!!!

  • Severius_Tolluck

    Not too surprising. After all the original space marines were convicts, killers, and crazies that were given combat drugs. Not unlike how StarCraft Terran Marines would become. This is a tip of the hat to what came from back then.

    • ZeeLobby

      Damn, beat me to it 😀

    • Shawn

      Pretty cool explaining some oft missed piece of lore. I like this kind of stuff. Essentially they’re taking what might not make sense in the modern scope of 30k/40k’s lore and fluff and finding a reasonable explanation and inclusion into the game. Awesome stuff.

  • ZeeLobby

    Well wasn’t the original fluff (rogue trader era) more that they were hired guns rather than brainwashed clones. Could be a nod to that, much like they’ve been injecting a lot of the really old models back into HH.

    • SYSTem050

      Essentially they were rebranded sadukar from dune, feral convicts trained in harsh conditions to be brutal warriors

  • OldHat

    I am for sure painting up at least one guy like this. Such a great homage to RT and no doubt the Night Lords would have a few.

    • ZeeLobby

      Haha, pretty sure the Night Lords would murder them silently on arrival though.

      • OldHat

        Well… I didn’t say they would have one for long! 😀

        • Drew_Da_Destroya

          What’s the 40k equivalent of Fragging the Commander?

          • NovaeVox


          • Drew_Da_Destroya

            Well played!

      • Haighus

        The Night Lords probably had them right up until Curze was reunited with his Legion…
        I suspect the same fate would’ve have occurred to those of the War Hounds when Angron was found too.

      • SilentPony

        I’m guessing it was a prison mentality. Officer walks in, asks whose the biggest, meanest Night Lord around, and then shoots him in the head.
        “Any Questions with my authority?”

    • Mitchell

      Is his armour black/grey metal specifically because of his position or is that just regular space wolf colours. Considering doing one for the XII

      • OldHat

        No idea. I will have to look in Inferno when I get it and see if it has any more details.

        • jmaximum

          Ironically, I just found a PILE of my old Inferno magazines……. Again, I’m way off topic here tonight….

  • DDisforDangerous

    I guess a 10,000 years later the Chaplains sort of fulfill that role?

  • dave long island

    Sweet! So with Space Marine Cops are we finally going to get the Space Marines in ‘wife beater’ t-shirts that’s long been rumored? And what about the trailer park terrain set complete with laundry line and illegal Whiskey Still? Man, I hope so… lol

    • Emprah

      Fenrisian ale still, you mean?

      • dave long island

        Lol, yes, yes of course! 🙂

      • MPSwift

        Mjod 😉 strong enough to get a marine hammered

    • KingThrogg

      I’ve been waitiing years for the FW Rainbow Warrior release. Rumor is the scouts armour consists of cowboy hat and leather chaps.

      • dave long island

        Lol… See, that’s why you’re The King Throgg… lol. 🙂

  • MechBattler

    Unsurprising. One of the points of being blown up to more than human, is that the flaws are blown up in equal proportions.

    If a normal person had a tantrum over perceiving daddy not loving them anymore, they might do something like steal his car.

    Demigod Horus? He drags an entire galaxy into a war, killing trillions of people just because he thinks daddy doesn’t love him anymore. Yes, he had a push getting there, but it was mostly him.

    Seems logical that superhuman soldiers would get up to superhuman mischief and need superhuman MPs to check them. I guess Chaplains fill that roll in 40K’s chapters though.

    • DJ860

      Yeh, I think the hypno-indoctrination plays a part as well in 40k

      • Joka

        It totally does. There is a chapter, the soul drinkers that rejected both the Imperium and Chaos. They set the honesty bar higher and stopped using indoctrination, especially sleep brainwashing. Aftr a while the new recruits started questioning the high officer.

        • jmaximum

          They broke that later on, though. I can’t remember the name, but there was a novella came out a few years ago about the Soul Drinkers (not part of the Omnibus), where a chaplain interred in a Dreadnought starts coercing the high command to turn to chaos…..I think.

      • Emprah

        Yeah. 40k Marines have a higher dose of honour, religious zealotry and brainwashing, as well as a more controlled but slower implantation process to make them much more stable, per Guilliman’s orders after the Heresy. What little discontent remains, Chaplains take care of.

        Plus 40k wise, killing all rebel civilians is not really frowned upon that much anymore. Since astartes are not into women (or men) or money, that leaves brawling as the only thing that needs policing, in case Squad Beerbeard insulted the wolf of Squad Wolftail and the bloodclaws made a mess of the mess hall by throwing chairs at each other.

        Rogue Trader era marines were not supersoldiers at all. At least by 40k standards. They were more akin to power armoured stormtroopers/Scions who were recruited from convicts, psychos, clones, etc.

  • The Rout

    Weird that the wolves became the executioners after starting out so unruly. Suppose being fenrisian and Russ slapping some sense into you does wonders for obedience :p

    • PrimoFederalist

      I think it’s a hat tip to the alpha taking control of the pack.

      • The Rout

        Very good point.

        • mike

          Or maybe they’re all functioning alcoholics lol.
          Once they got a taste of that Fenrisian ale they calmed right down.

          • The Rout

            I think I prefer your point :p

    • euansmith

      I think that their unruliness was the reason they got chosen; like hiring a biker gang to smash up someone’s business.

  • wavelover42

    I always wondered About the Space Wolves Legion before Russ was found. From what i read in lore,(also asking a question) That making Astartes from the Canis Helix only really worked on people from Fenris?. Even after the Heresy and the splitting of the legions? Building a new chapter from Russ’s gene seed from another world turned out to fail. wasn’t there too much instability and mutation(wulfen)? I thought it would be to much trouble to even field them until Russ came along.

    • mike

      From what I can recall it wasn’t an issue until after they gained and then lost russ. Russ wanted all the recruits drawn from Fenris, so they did. Then he disappeared and they just carried on the tradition. Then the apothecaries started to notice more wolven traits and realized the canis helix had been slowly blending with the gene seed more and more each generation. By the time they realized, it was already too late and it wouldn’t work on recruits from other planets.
      And presumably russ is lost in the eye of terror or is still in transit, so they can’t use his DNA to create more original gene seeds.

      • wavelover42

        I gotcha. very interesting!

  • Sonic tooth

    Dont mess with officer murphy

  • SilentPony

    I wonder if they were Marine commissars. Any Marine who retreats or disobeys an order or what have you is shot.

    And I’m guessing the disciplinary corps is where they got the first generation of Chaplains from.

    • Unsure. These guys sound like they are chosen for cool level-headed personalty types to keep the rowdyness in check. The order is pre-primarch. The Chaplains were charismatic and skilled at inspirational oratory and first introduced to the legions by Lorgar’s Word Bearers.

      So perhaps similar goals, but very different methods.

      • wavelover42

        I guess that leads to the question on how punishment was carried out? Execution? Pehaps a little like Astorath the Grim?

        • SilentPony

          Or deathwatch punishment where you have to experience VR recording of lost battles, watching brothers getting massacred by enemies but unable to do anything about it.

          • wavelover42

            I guess honor would be more important than death for a Astartes? good point!

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Iron Hands punishment duty is to play a simulated millenium of Pong at the highest, unwinnable difficulty setting.

          • wavelover42

            The Imperial Fists would expect you to use your hand with the pain glove! On the other hand(see were i am going with this) the Iron Hands would expect you to chop it off! I guess your damned if you do and your damned if you don’t

          • mike

            Haha. But that’s a sign of rank in the Iron hands! The higher we go the more we chop off!

          • wavelover42

            Haha. Only thing left of a Captain would be a Fist with a thumbs up or would it be more of like thumbs down?

          • NovaeVox

            The secret to Ferrus’s hands? Calluses from a youth wasted on Metal Slug speed runs.

          • euansmith

            Not Missile Command? No matter how good you are, you only stave off the inevitable.

        • Drpx

          You had to go to a weekend class on the Codex Astartes taught by the smarmiest Ultramarine they could find.

      • SilentPony

        But Chaplains were also used to uphold Legion law and enforce punishment. So its not a direct one-for-one, but there is overlap.

      • Emprah

        Good point.

      • Fabio Angel Figueroa

        haplains served the same role as the space marine police or rather space marine commissars in 30k, looking for signs of treachery and disorder as well as keeping the psykers in check and inspiring the troops moral. The religious aspect of the chaplains was unique to the word bearers until the establishment of the imperial cult in 40k

    • jmaximum

      Chaplains were around in 30K, however the title did not have ANY of the religious connotations, they were charged with preaching – er – teaching the Imperial Creed at the time.

  • David Roberts
    • Noah Jerge

      Cool! Seems like the perfect kit to use.

  • David Roberts
  • David Muir

    I would consider buying one or two of these.

  • jmaximum

    Ok, can anyone provide a higher res pic of this?
    I recognize almost all of them, except the following:
    Left page top row: swirling maelstrom banner is titled as Flesh Tearers?
    Right page top row: who’s that in the middle?
    Right page bottom row: RAINBOW WARRIORS FOR THE WIN!!!,
    So, this pic is out of context, but is the implication these guys are original legions?

    Going way off topic here: i remember space marine stories in White Dwarf where they would stop at waystations AND GO TO THE BAR and get in bar fights with drunk space orcs, amongst other crazy, yet funny, stories that totally don’t fit the atmosphere of the new and shiny grim dark.

    • euansmith

      Despite the way that the current fluff focuses on a few planets and a few Chapters, it is a big Galaxy out there, and there is likely to be some unregarded sector where the Marines are rowdy and the local Imperial Governor hires Blood Axes as mercenaries. I’m sure those bar brawls still happen 😉

      • jmaximum

        one could only hope!

        But seriously, the old White Dwarf mags had amazingly creative stories before everything was tailored to make more $$, er, Pounds (I don’t have that symbol on my kb)

        • euansmith

          I don’t have a Euro key on my UK keyboard… but I guess that won’t matter for much longer 🙁

          • jmaximum

            Ah, cuz of that Brexit thing.