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Warhammer 40K Retro: Three Decades of Land Speeders

5 Minute Read
Dec 19 2022

Today we look back at the many, many variants of a Warhammer 40K classic – the Space Marine Land Speeder.

Before we start in on our history lesson, let’s look at the most recent Primaris tech that pushed the venerable Land Speeder off the stage. All hail the Storm Speeder.  OK, back to the matter at hand. We are starting with the latest (and probably the last) Land Speeder and rolling the clock back with each earlier version.

Land Speeder Basics

Land Speeders are light anti-gravity vehicles, serving as the primary reconnaissance, scouting, resupply and fast attack vehicles of the Imperial Space Marine Chapters.


Land Speeders are based on STC data recovered in M31 by the famous Techno-archaeologist Arkhan Land, and afterwards became widely produced and used throughout the Imperium. Land Speeders were also originally used by the Imperial Guard, but since then the plasma and anti-gravity technologies required to produce them have become increasingly rare and hard to maintain. Only extremely resource rich planets like Ryza or organisations such as the Space Marines can afford to create them. There are 50 plus Land Speeders in a typical Chapter.

Arkhan Land – his hobbies were speedering and raidering

The anti-gravitic plates which give the Land Speeder its ability to fly remains a mystery restricted mostly to the Tech-Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Placed around the nose and cockpit of the vehicle they create an inverse gravity field which, in combination with afterburning ramjets, allows it to climb to a height of one hundred meters but the official doctrine dictated that Land Speeders should use the ground as cover and don’t climb up to high height. Though its anti-gravitic plates won’t function at higher altitudes, they can be used to perform a control descent at these heights, allowing their deployment from an overflying Thunderhawk for rapid assaults.

The Land Speeder is lightly armoured – indeed the power armour of its Space Marine crew provides them with more protection – instead relying on its speed and maneuverability to avoid enemy fire. Its primary armament is a Heavy Bolter, although this is replaced in some Land Speeders with a Multi-Melta for anti-armour firepower.


The “Current” Version

While the Primaris marines are here and have upgraded to the new Storm Speeder hotness, there’s still a place in our nostalgic hearts for the Land Speeder! They are the original Marine anti-grav vehicles! These things once roamed the tabletop in herds like the buffalo, but their time is slipping away. We shall see what 10th Edition will bring for them.


The classic- littering battlefields across the galaxy with wreckage from failed jink saves (remember those)?landspeederstorm

Scouts get in on the action – meet the special-ops version of the Land Speeder – the Storm!


Forge World’s Tempest (invented by the White Scars) adds the armor, bigger winglets, and ditched a crewman.

Pimp My Ride: Unforgiven Edition


Heretical Aside

Now a quick stop at the “new-ancient” Javelin Speeder from the Horus Heresy.  It is a Forge World 30K beauty that harkens back to the original inspiration for the entire Land Speeder concept (see way down below).


Here’s the White Scars’ 30K Kyzagan speeder. It is clearly based on the Javelin above with a lot of high rate of fire dakka dakka added on.

The Proteus is a totally different beast. It’s an homage to the original Rogue Trader speeder seen down below.

Welcome to the 90s!

Rogue Trader was behind us and GW wanted to refresh the antiquated speeder with something a bit more modern and enclosed.  I personally think this is the most fitting of the models combining a compact frame, decent armor protection, and a slab-sided yet powerful looking vehicle. this model looks like it can move when it needs to.


Kicking butt during the Heresy




Tell the Mechanicus thank you for the front armor!

Rogue Trader

Welcome to the 80s! Here we see the original metal mini for the Land Speeder which came in both Marine and Imperial Army versions.  The Army’s days of accessing Speeders were numbered.  The miniature was extremely small as were most of GW’s early metal vehicles and seemed more like a deathtrap than a viable fighting platform.



Make sure your seatbelts are fastened and your chair is in the upright position. NO SMOKING in the lavatories please.


Not just for Marines (tick tock)


Trust me, the parts and the fit and finish weren’t this crisp.



Who still throws these babies on the tabletop?

The Primogenitor

We complete our journey with the origin of the concept – the Deodorant Speeder featured in White Dwarf, during Rogue Trader’s very early days, back in 1987. This was back in the era of pure creativity for GW as they pushed out into the earliest incarnation of the Grimdark, with crazed ideas, enthusiasm, and not much else.  You can see that 30 years on, Forge World’s Javelin (above), is an homage to the great-granddaddy of the entire concept.



~Which is your favorite model? Do you think the Primaris Storm Speeder looks better or worse than the classic Land Speeder?

Author: Larry Vela
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