40K HOBBY: Dusk Raiders Blackshield Army

Before the Death Guard came the Dusk Raiders – and here we see a desperate warband still standing tall for the Emperor.

Many years ago I decided to make a different army. Back in 2005 I started on my pre-heresy Death Guard army. It was a labor of love years before GW really embraced the Heresy or made minis for it. Years passed, the army grew and  GW wrapped both arms around the Horus Heresy. I knew it was time for me to call them done at long last and move on.

It turns out you can get tired of painting white.

I wanted a new army that would be small, have a “warband” vibe and be even more niche than my Death Guard. I always enjoyed the duality of my Death Guard army as I could play it pre-heresy as Loyalists, or Heresy era as traitors. Still I’m a sucker for a doomed heroic cause. When I saw the official image of the Original Dusk Raiders scheme in a Forge World book I was intrigued.

Death Guard Left – Dusk Raiders Right

When I saw the Blackshields list in a the RETRIBUTION book I had my answer.

The Dusk Raiders

My new army would be a band of Blackshields. Loyalists from the Death Guard legion who hailed from a distant expeditionary fleet. Shocked by word of their primarch’s treachery, these terrans renounced Mortarion, returned to their original Dusk Raider colors and fought a campaign of vengeance upon their brothers till the bitter end.

The Sullen Sons

“Before being united with their Primarch, the XIVth Legion were known as the ‘Dusk Raiders’, and they followed the martial traditions of old Albia, upon ancient Terra. The 156th Company of the Dusk Raiders were known as ‘The Sullen Sons’, though there was little notable in their short history which required a cognomen. Early in the Great Crusade the wholly Terran 156th Company are recorded as being the sole Legion forces attached to the 231st Expeditionary Fleet, headed for the Western galactic fringe. They then disappeared from records until well after the beginning of the Heresy, appearing again as a gritty band of Blackshields fighting alongside Loyalist forces across multiple worlds in the Segmentum Solar.  The Sullen Sons are notable for their appearance in multiple campaigns indicating they possessed warp transportation of some manner.  They inflicted multiple stinging defeats amongst Traitor forces, with the Death guard being their favored foes. All records of the warband cease shortly before the Siege of Terra and their ultimate fate is unknown.”

The Armylist

Here’s the 2000pt list using the Blackshields list. “The Sullen Sons”

Reaver Lord w/ Halo Blade, Powerfist, Volkite Charger, Artificer Armour, Digital Lasers, Cyber Familiar, Iron Halo, Rad Grenades, Meltabombs 260
Primus Medicae w/ Terminator Armour, Chainfist 130
2*Apothecary w/ 2*Artificer Armour, 2*Augury Scanner, 1*Power Sword 130
Cortus Contemptor w/ Chainfist, Graviton Gun 160
5*Cataphractii Terminators all w/ Plasma Blaster, 3*Chainfists, 2*Power Fists, 2*Combi-plasmas 244
Techmarine w/ Rad Grenades, 2*Servitors w/ Rad Missle Launchers 117
8*Marauders w/ 4*Autoguns, 2*Bolters, 1*Grenade Launcher, Chief w/ Combi-plasma, Powerfist 200
10*Marauders w/ 2*Lascutters, 2*Heavy Chainswords, 2*Power Weapons, 3*Bolters, Chief w/ Powerfist 256
Lord of War
Stormlord w/ Space Marine Crew 495

The Army

I know, I know… you came for the pretty pictures.

I wanted the army to be small, and extremely weathered and battered in appearance. These guys were tough as nails Death Guard before they went blackshield, so they really don’t care about keeping up appearances. I wanted the army to have scavenged equipment and a large centerpiece model. Once I found the Heresy rule allowing a single IG superheavy to represent a scavenged local vehicle I knew the Stormlord was perfect. It’s not well armed, but makes a rolling home base – perfect from a narrative point of view. I wanted it to look like it was scavenged from a burned out chassis and repaired with whatever was available to the techmarine. “The Bucket” was born.

Most of all I wanted a heavily themed narrative force – the type of “never say die” force that you would never see in a tournament but that I could call my own. Rule of cool and being able to fit within the framework of the Heresy’s fluff was paramount over any min-max rules considerations.

“The Sullen Sons” The entire warband – ready to take it to traitors!

“The bucket” the warband’s mobile base and tracked firebase. It was salvaged from a long forgotten battlefield and brought back into service by the warband’s techmarine.  An eternal work in progress, it is upgraded and repaired from whatever is available in the area.

He we see the warband’s veterans, equipped in cataphractii terminator armor. Such slow and nigh invulnerable armor was commonly issued to the Death Guard legion.

The first squad of Marauders, with attached apothecary. This unit is equipped with scavenged ranged weapons.

The Reaver Lord (right), with his two attendant officers, a Techmarine (left) and Primus Medicae.

Here is the warband’s Contemptor-Cortus dreadnought, with improvised frontal armor, perhaps to compensate for the tempermental atomantic shield generator.

The Bucket, features sponsons and defensive weapons salvaged from myriad battlefields. It’s primary vulcan mega-bolter is functional – with multiple vids of large swaths of traitor Army and Auxillia infantry falling to it’s heavy bursts.. The dual missile racks mounted atop it are armed with rad-missiles.  A battlefield improvisation by the techmarine, and an unpleasant surprise for foes.

“The Bucket” serves as a base of operations and mobile HQ for The Sullen sons who would move from place to place during their many on-world guerrilla campaigns. Based on it’s appearance, it may have originally been assigned to the Imperial Army, or perhaps the Iron Warriors Legion.

The warband’s command staff again. Note the rad missiles on the servitors and the gruesome standard of the Primus Medicae – almost certainly a prized foe.

Apothecary assigned to the 2nd Marauder squad. It was The Sullen Sons’ good fortune to have a three man apothecary staff and Death Guard gene-seed that gave the Blackshields such long-term tenacity.

The heavy use of rad and plasma weapons were seen as a necessary danger to the warband. Here you see the Cataphractii squad issued such dangerous weapons en masse.

The Maruaduer squad is armed with whatever weapons could be scavenged from the battlefield. Some such as imperial lasguns have been modified to increase their potency by the warband’s techmarine, trusting in the marines’s power armor to deal with any hazards.

~ What do you think of the army.  We will be following their exploits on the tabletop in the weeks ahead.

  • Aaditya Rangan

    Totally awesome idea and execution!

  • benn grimm

    Cool idea and cool little force, my only reservation is they look just a little bit too bright n shiny for legionaries harking back to a specialism in dusk raiding.

    • OldHat

      Eh… the Flying Circus would disagree. They were in garish colors and would often fly at the enemy out of the setting sun just to eff with them. 😀

  • What a great wee force, love the narrative behind it too 😀

  • DJ860

    Awesome, nice job!

  • Sonic tooth

    awesome. is the fluff about the black shields official? absolutely blown away

    • yorknecromancer

      Yup. Blackshields are in Forge World’s HH:6. They represent Astartes forces that have gone completely Rogue and who are no longer loyal to their Primarchs. Blackshields can be Loyal, Traitor or completely self-interested, serving no master but themselves. You come up with their colour scheme, markings and background – they’re basically a way for players to have a completely unique Heresy-era Astartes army.

      Rules-wise, they get two unique units – the Reaver Lord, who is a points-expensive but powerful Legion Pretoria equivalent (because Blackshields don’t get Praetors), and Marauder squads, who replace Tactical Squads. Marauders get access to unique equipment that makes them slightly better at melee and the close-range game, without ever being overpowered.

      There are also four army-wide provenances you can take, giving interesting whole-army rules and restrictions.

      Blackshields are, to all intents and purposes, THE hobbyist’s Heresy-era army.

      • SilentPony

        It is a little shame the retconned is so Death guard Blackshields don’t create the DeathWatch and the whole Deathwatch Black shield thing was specifically because of loyalist Marines from Traitor Legions.

  • BloodAngel

    Very, very cool idea!

  • Deacon Ix

    Really like the asymmetric sponsons on the Stormlord

  • OldHat

    Not trying to be that guy, but the PM is illegal. Can’t take Chainfists per their entry (p20, Red Book). Otherwise, looks fun.

    • amaximus167

      I assumed that it was just representing the narthecium? Could be wrong.

      • OldHat

        Not going off the model, going off the posted list that has the “Chainfist” under wargear. That is illegal.

        • amaximus167

          Ahhh, I missed that. Oops!

    • Chris Eyler

      In addition, you can’t take a LoW until you hit 2,000 points; this might be a “2,000 point list”, but it doesn’t actually meet that requirement.

      • OldHat

        Well that is just a semantics argument that most players wouldn’t enforce. He could fill those points with stuff if he really had to.

      • OldHat

        I did just notice the Stormlord is improperly costed based on WYSIWYG or in general. SM Crew would make it 505pt, while the sponsons put it at 555pt. So, this list is just in general not legal.

        • AventineX

          Is Space Marine Crew 25 points? I thought it was 15, putting it at 495 with no sponsons?

          • OldHat

            Is it? Crap, I only have the Crusade Imperialis Red Book and figured the Stormlord was the same price base for both factions. Still though, it goes over 500pt limit with the sponsons.

          • AventineX

            Hehe, I guess the sponsons are non functional 😉

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I love it, all really nicely done. The only thing I’d change would be to really load that Stormlord down with stowage, firewood, camp equipment etc.

  • Johan Strandh

    Unfortunately I don’t think Primus Medicae can take chainfists.
    Other than that, this is incredibly inspiring. Even to one who has delved deep into 30k himself. 🙂

    • OldHat

      Correct. Nor is the Stormlord properly costed. 😀

  • Deathwing

    I like the backstory. Its crisp and to the point, a believable blurb that allows enough ambiguity and mystery to allow it to easily fit into the actual cannon fluff without impacting it in any way. Well done I say.
    Might even be expandable to a short story for a black library submission if they ever run another short story contest.

  • joedecook

    I know it’s a stretch, but the Dusk Raiders symbol and paint scheme seems really close to that of the Marines Exemplar.