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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Grimdark Future/Warhammer 40k: Planning A Multi-Edition/Game Space Wolf Army

"For Russ and the All father!"
Originally I wasn't going to ever paint a second army, having planned to move to paper miniatures. However being locked into my home and finishing what minis I've got left to do has really made me interested in doing more of it and so, should this mess-that-shall-not-be-named ever resolve itself (and if I have a job after it all) my survival celebration goal is to build a Space Wolf army Specifically an army that, like my Death Guards, are playable in multiple editions of the game and most importantly in Grimdark Future, The primary editions of focus are:

As such I'm writing down my notes for how to assemble the army, models and units to be legal (via WYSIWYG) for these three specific editions. Third Edition because it was my first edition and pretty much the 'definitive' 40k (or at least the Warhammer 40k I first knew) 8th because its the current and Grimdark Future because its overall better and easier to play.

Grey Hunters

Troop Choice (1+ in 3rd edition)
In the older Space Wolf codices, you had to take at least one squad of Grey Hunters per army. As the default troop choice forming the book of the chapter, it make sense from a fluff standpoint as most Space Wolves packs would be of this type.
  • Main Weapon Loadout: In trying to make these guys fit all three edition I run into a problem. Their 3rd edition weapon choices don't fully match the more modern Space Wolves or Grimdark Future's Wolf Brothers at the same time. In order to keep it more simple and focus on my two favorite versions of the game (3rd and GF), my Grey Hunters will exclusively be using Bolters. This will tie them closer to their original role and show the Space Wolf progression from hot blooded close quarter Blood Claws to heavy weapon-wielding Long Fangs. As such, in Grimdark Future these will be Battle Brothers upgraded with the Wolf Brother's mechanic, rather than Wolf Brother squads.
  • Weapon Options: To keep it compliant with 3rd edition, only the Sergeant will be outfitted with some mixture of melee weapon+pistol (Upgrade A in GF). A single Grey Hunter will replace its Bolter with either a Flamer/Meltagun/Plasma Gun (Upgrade E in GF)
  • Modelling: I'd build these guys fairly close to (and partially from) Tactical Squads but would take care to make them more suitably Space Wolf-esque with the addition of choice bitz. Being the bulk of the army and given I hate painting flesh and face, these guys would be mostly helmeted. Given they are more experienced and older than the Blood Claws they would need some slightly more ornate armor. As such they would primarily be Tactical Marines with added Space Wolf-themed helmets, backpacks and shoulder pads. There isn't much of a need to use the Space Wolf-specific chest plate because the Bolter will cover it.
  • Overall status of squad weapon loadout: 100% legal in all three editions! Maybe not optimal, but usable.

Blood Claws

Troop/Fast Attack Choice (Depending on equipment)
Blood Claws are the newbs of the Space Wolves. The Space Wolves find them to be way too hyped and hot blooded to be of any worth as Scouts and, as such, stuff them in their Power Armor as soon as possible and throws them into battle so they can vent that 'youthful energy'. Usually by ripping and tearing into the enemy with a level of brutality on par with Khorne Berserkers.
  • Main Weapon Loadout: These guys have Bolt Pistols and CCW, which the Space Wolf pack seems to come fully equipped with. This is easily compliant with the 3rd, 8th and GF versions and such pose no problem. Obviously in Grimdark Future these would be Wolf Rookies.
  • Weapon Options: One model per squad would be equipped with a Power Sword/Power Fist and a plasma pistol (which would be the Pack Leader in 8th edition and is upgrade C in GF). In addition one model would be equipped with an option of Flamer/Meltagun/Plasma Gun (also upgrade C).
  • Modelling: These guys would probably keep the Space Wolf bitz to a minimum (on the armor itself, anyway), as to make them appear cleaner and more pristine rather than having ornate armor. However the main difference from the Grey Hunters would be the heads. All those Space Wolf heads with the 'crazy hair' and mohawks would be used to represent the Blood Claws. The 'Skyclaws' are pretty easy to model as Assault Marines with the same head type as Blood Claws as are the biker versions. However it is worth noting that 3rd edition Space Wolves lacked Jump Pack units so them appearing in the army is unlikely.
  • Overall status of squad weapon loadout: 100% legal in all three editions! However, in GF the Wolf Rookies squads cannot exceed a ten model size.

Long Fangs

Heavy Support
The Long Fangs are old foogey of the Space Wolves. Their hair has become grey (or even white) and their fangs have kept growing all their lives, hence the name. More importantly than just being old, however, is that they alone have the level of discipline to make good use of heavy weapons, making them the equivalent of Devastator Marines in other Chapters.
  • Main Weapon Loadout: While nowadays they have more variety, to me the Long Fangs will always be the 'heavy weapon guys' of the Space Wolves. This is especially true because in 3rd edition you had to replace their boltgun with some heavy weapon. As such these guys are upgraded Support Brothers in Grimdark Future.
  • Weapon Options: When it come to heavy weapons in 3rd edition, the Long Fangs are limited to a choice between Heavy Bolters, Missile Launchers, Lascannons, Multi-Meltas and Plasma Cannons. This leave out the Grav Weapons, but Space Wolves don't use those anyway!
  • Modelling: The key detail for Long Fangs would be bare heads, albeit of a different type than the Blood Claws. These would be heads with big beards and/or baldness, with their hair obviously grey or white which would mark them as being very old. The main model to base Long Fangs off are obviously Devastator Marines, as their main body, arms and backpack form the core of any heavy weapon-wielding Space Marine. Because so many parts would need to be taken from the Devastator kit, this basically mean that shoulder pads is where these guys need to be 'wolfed up' as well as adding any bitz of wolf pelt and battle trophies their models can support. The Spellcrow shoulder pads look suitably ornate and different. In addition I'd probably paint a bit more 'bling' and metallic trim on the Long Fangs, about to the same level as the Wolf Guards.
  • As a nod to their small squad size, in Grimdark Future I will always field the Long Fangs in squads of five.
  • Overall status of squad weapon loadout: 100% legal in all three editions!

Wolf Guards

Elite (and sometimes Squad Leader?)
Wolf Guards are weird. How they work between 3rd and 8th edition has changed a bit and, to make matters worse, they don't really have an equivalent in Grimdark Future at the moment. The Wolf Guards are kind of the 'Veterans' of the Space Wolf armies but this isn't completely accurate. They don't work the same as 1st company Veteran squads of other Space Marine chapters.
  • Modelling: 'Anything goes' for these guys as long as it looks cool. The Wolf Guards are the heroes of the chapter, raised above their peers by the respect of their Wolf Lord. As such these guys can look like a slightly more blinged out version of the Blood Claws, Grey Hunters or Long Fangs depending how appropriate to the model. They would definitely be heavy on the Space Wolf pack bitz or some cool third party parts to make some of them stand out. Beyond that the only thing which would mark a unit as a Wolf Guard would be its yellow and black markings. Their loadout of weapon, likewise, would be varied and down to the individual.
  • Wolf Guard Squads: These would be squad formed fully of Wolf Guards, which can be fielded in 8th edition as a squad of their own. In Grimdark Future these could be simply Wolf Brothers with appropriate weapons but then they would be mechanically no different from their lesser kindred beyond weapon loadout. Another option would be to make them Assault Brothers with Veteran status. These units would then receive a +1 to hit in melee and at range, capping them at an impressive (but costly) 2+ and enabling the Jump Pack version of 8th edition to be fielded.
  • Wolf Guard Squad Leaders: Another weird thing Space Wolves can do is assign Wolf Guards as pack leaders. In Grimdark Future this would mean assigning a hero unit to the squad, namely either a Champion or Captain. Note that these hero units would definitely be 'reluffed', since Wolf Guards lack such a rank. The Captain version would be assigned to Long Fang squads (equipped with a deadly combi bolter for good measure) as to make it Relentless too, a mechanic which the Long Fangs would have.
  • Overall status of squad: Really subjective and down to a case by case basis.